The Eye Doctors of New Tampa Prepares for the 2017 Great American Eclipse

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New Tampa optometrist warns community of the dangers of direct sunlight on their eyes.

Sunglasses, even polarized sunglasses, do not protect your eyes from the sun’s power.

What is the Solar Eclipse?
An eclipse is where the moon passes in front of the sun and, if you’re in the path of totality, you will be able to witness a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse is truly a sight to be seen! The moon, earth, and sun will be positioned at exactly the right distance apart for the moon to completely cover the sun- giving us a glimpse of the elusive solar atmosphere(called the corona).

Excitement about the solar eclipse has been buzzing around the country as it is the first total eclipse since 1979! Across the United States people will be stepping outside to watch darkness fall in the middle of the day as the moon passes in front of the sun. Unfortunately the beauty of this celestial spectacle is not without it’s risks, so I sat down with Tampa optometrist Dr. Samuel Teske to ask what safety precautions should we take to enjoy the solar eclipse and be able to enjoy all sights afterwards?

How Do I View the Solar Eclipse?
The total eclipse, which lasts only a couple minutes, is the only safe time to look up at the sun with your naked eye. There are several safe ways to view the partial eclipse.

Indirect Viewing:
There are several projection methods that involve projecting the sun and moon onto a white surface so you can view the eclipse progression indirectly. The temptation, Dr. Teske says, is often too great to not look directly up to the sky. Which is why Dr. Teske recommends specialized eclipse glasses.

Direct Viewing:
To view the eclipse directly, you must wear eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. These glasses protect your eyes from the power of the sun’s direct rays.

Can’t I just wear my sunglasses?

Sunglasses, even polarized sunglasses, do not protect your eyes from the sun’s power. Solar retinopathy can occur in a matter of seconds after looking at high intensity light.

What is Solar Retinopathy?
Solar retinopathy is a complicated way of saying severe eye sunburn. The front of your eye may or may not be red, but the inside of your eye can be sunburned. Solar retinopathy occurs when sun damages the inner part (the retina) of your eye- and when the retina becomes damaged you could experience blind spots temporarily. Or permanently.

Where Can I Find Eclipse Glasses?
Local optometrists all over the country are selling eclipse glasses that meet the NASA standard. The Eye Doctors of New Tampa and Trinity are handing ours out for free in hopes that the community will heed our advice and not watch the eclipse unprotected.

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Courtney Beaumont
The Eye Doctors
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