Wednesday, August 09, 2017

No, no, no--no watching eclipse without eyewear

On Aug 21st, the moon will block the sun for up to 3 hours--and this will be visible across the US. A once-in-a-lifetime event.

The entire sun will be covered in the southwest corner of Kentucky.

Still, even when the sun is totally blocked--and of course in areas with partial blocking--solar filter glasses MUST be worn, according to Patrick A. Scott, OD, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Louisville Dept of Ophthalmology &Visual Sciences.

Looking directly at the sun causes "solar retinopathy." The blast of UV light creates toxic free radical cells that can damage the photoreceptors and specialized pigment of the eye. There is no treatment for this--except to avoid it.

This damage can result in mild to moderate reduction in vision as well as central blind spots!

Most at risk are younger people, those with an  intraocular lens implanted after cataract surgery, and those on photosensitive drugs such as tetracycline and amiodarone.

The doctor's Dept in Louisville sees 10 cases a year with solar retinopathy from laser pointers or high intensity sun exposure.

Be sure to get--and wear--glasses with special purpose solar filters. You can see some approved ones on NASA's website.

I already know two people who are gearing up for this--in ancient times, people thought it meant the world was ending.

Now--despite current events--we think it's a good time.

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