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Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

Looking at the solar eclipse without proper eyewear can quite literally cook your eyes!  Looking at the intense light from the sun, even for just a few seconds, can cause permanent damage to the retina (part of the eye directly responsible for vision). Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause retinal burns (solar retinopathy).

Eye Safety Guidelines for Total Solar Eclipses

Outlined below are essential safety recommendations to observe during a total solar eclipse.

  • Use eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer when viewing the Sun during the partial eclipse phases before and after totality. Directly observing the eclipse without proper eye protection is permissible only when the Moon fully obscures the Sun's bright face, specifically during the short and impressive period referred to as totality.
  • Ensure safety by confirming that no part of the Sun is visible through eclipse glasses or a solar viewer.
  • Once any portion of the bright Sun becomes visible again after totality, promptly resume using eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer when looking at the Sun.
  • Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
  • Always inspect your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer before use; discard the device if torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged.
  • Always supervise children (even older ones) using solar viewers or eclipse glasses.
  • Do NOT look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer or with your naked eye — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.


Get the Official Shadow of the Sun Viewing Glasses. A souvenir and keepsake to remind you of this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, but it is also a critical health-safety device!  Available for $2 at the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce Office.

Eclipse Glasses
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