We’re only a few days away from the amazing celestial event that has thousands flocking to Central Oregon. The August 21st solar eclipse is a can’t-miss event that is sure to have all eyes up at the sky.
But unfortunately, while the eclipse will only last a few short minutes, damage to viewers’ eyes can last a lifetime. Dr. Gabby Marshall, the clinical director of Elemental Eyecare in NorthWest Crossing, specializes in pediatric vision therapy and is very concerned about potential damage caused by the sun.
“You should never look at the sun, no matter how much of it is blocked,” Marshall warns. “Viewing the sun for any length of time, even if partially blocked, can cause permanent scarring of the eyes. This will cause blindness in your central vision, similar to the effects of macular degeneration. It is permanent and disabling.”
For this reason, Marshall, and many other medical professionals in the area strongly suggest viewers wear protective eye glasses throughout the entire eclipse, even when the sun is blocked. There has been a lot of information in recent weeks about the eclipse glasses. There are only 4 companies in the US that have produced ISO-approved glasses (ISO 12312-2): American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17. If your glasses aren’t ISO approved and made from one of these companies, Marshall urges folks to find replacement glasses. While Elemental Eyecare is sold out of glasses, another neighbor, Umpqua Bank is giving them out for free.
Even if your family has glasses, be aware that kids may be tempted to sneak a peek without their protective eyewear. Given the harm this can cause, parents are urged to keep close supervision on their children and stress the importance of keeping eyes behind their “magic” glasses. Don’t take a risk. Set a good example. And keep a close eye on your kids. If everyone is safe, this will be a great event to remember for your entire family.