In less than a week, everyone will be eagerly (and hopefully safely) watching as a solar eclipse passes across the United States. The solar eclipse on Aug. 21 will be visible across North America, with anyone within a roughly 70-mile- wide path from Oregon to South Carolina experiencing a brief total eclipse. Millions of more people (including people in Arizona) will witness a partial eclipse.
I’ve partnered with UnitedHealthcare to share solar eclipse eye protection tips from the American Optometric Association. As exciting as the solar eclipse is, everyone needs to be careful to avoid damaging their eyes.
Solar Eclipse Eye Protection Tips
Never look directly at the sun
It is unsafe for anyone to look directly at the sun at any time or during a solar eclipse, other than if you are located in the path of totality during the brief total phase of the eclipse.
For people in the path of the total eclipse, eclipse glasses should be removed only once the moon completely blocks the sun. Once the sun reappears, glasses should be replaced immediately.
Use only approved solar eclipse glasses
Use approved solar eclipse glasses and avoid fake viewers that are being sold; a list of approved vendors is available here. Read and follow any instructions packaged with or printed on the glasses.
Do not use camera, telescopes or binoculars
Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses. The concentrated solar rays can damage the filter, enter your eyes and cause serious injury or blindness.
Vision problems after the eclipse?
Visit a local eye care professional for a comprehensive exam if you or a family member experience discomfort or vision problems following the eclipse.
Solar Eclipse Glasses
UnitedHealthcare is helping communities within the path of the total eclipse by donating 10,000 solar-eclipse glasses to schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. You can also check with your local public library, some branches may have solar-eclipse glasses to hand out to patrons. Plus there is still time purchase you own solar-eclipse glasses online, just be sure the sure they are approved.
Next Total Eclipse
The next total solar eclipse will not traverse across the entire United States mainland until August 12, 2045.