Ring Of Fire!

A Solar Eclipse is exciting, but you should never look at the Sun without taking precautions to protect your eyes. Read on to learn more

Solar eclipse and Lunar eclipse are fascinating not only for space enthusiasts but also for everyone. A Solar Eclipse or Surya Grahan occurs when the moon obstructs the way between the sun and the earth. The eclipse, that is moon covering the sun, can be partial, total or annular. On the 26th of December, 2019 the world will witness the ‘Annual Solar Eclipse’. It is the third and final solar eclipse of the year and the decade! This ‘Annual Solar Eclipse’ is also called the ‘Ring of Fire’.

Protection of eyes is very important during a solar eclipse as looking at the solar eclipse directly will lead to various problems. Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection can cause ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy (symptoms: distorted vision and altered colour vision). This exposure causes damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain.

Here are some precautions that should be taken while watching the annual solar eclipse:

  •  Do not watch the Sun through a phone camera. This will not only damage your phone camera but also damage your eyes and can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Homemade filters or sunglasses are a big no as they are not effective and will not be able to protect the eyes. No matter how dark-tinted the sunglasses are or of how good-quality they are, they are not sufficient to provide the protection that the eyes need.
  • Avoid looking at the Sun through telescope, binoculars and any other optical device as using these devices concentrates the rays of the sun and will cause direct damage to the eyes. Even the use of an eclipse glass will not provide sufficient protection to your eyes from the solar eclipse and will also burn the glasses.

Please understand that there are no safe ways to look at the solar eclipse with the naked eyes. One will need to have protection for the eyes. Here are a few ways to look at the annual solar eclipse:

  • You can use Solar Filters that also come as eclipse glasses and solar filters for binoculars.
  • Kindly ensure that the filters are bought from authentic and reputable manufacturers. They have to be ISO certified and meet the ISO 12312-2 standard.
  • Look out for any scratches on these filters as they will cause immediate harm to your eyes.
  • To use these eclipse glasses look away from the sun and put them on and then look at the sun. To remove the glasses the same method is to be used where you look away from the sun and remove the glasses.

Also, you may not feel pain due to the retina’s lack of pain sensors, looking directly at the sun could still cause damage and partial or full blindness which may develop later. If you are experiencing any damage to your eyes after the solar eclipse kindly visit your nearest ophthalmologist!

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