The solar eclipse is an ancient astronomical event that occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun every few years. One or two eclipses occur each year when the Moon goes through a complete cycle of its orbit. The first is called an annular eclipse, where the Moon appears as if it’s going around in a ring but doesn’t quite touch the Sun because it’s slightly smaller than our planet. This eclipse lasts only about an hour and leaves little to no visible damage. The second type is called a total eclipse when the Moon completely covers up all but a tiny sliver of sunlight for about three hours. At that point, it can get dangerous and can cause some permanent damage to eyesight.
1. Your Eyes are Sensitive
Your eyes are the most sensitive organ in your body, and they can receive damage from light even when you’re not directly looking at the Sun. The purpose of the solar eclipse is to be able to see the Sun’s corona. However, that doesn’t mean you want to stare straight at it. Although you might think viewing this phenomenon with just your naked eye is safe, it isn’t. Looking directly at the Sun with only your eyes can cause severe damage and potentially significant vision loss.
2. You Can’t Look Directly at the Sun
Your eyes are likely worth more to you than anything. You do not want to damage them, and most doctors will recommend that you do not look directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse. If you glance at the Sun, even if it’s only for a second, there is still a chance that your eyes could get damaged. Using a telescope or binoculars is highly recommended to view the eclipse from the ground.
3. It Can Cause Permanent Damage
Your eyes can get damaged by looking directly at the Sun or even very close. Looking directly at the Sun during any eclipse can cause permanent blindness in about 5-35% of cases. People who suffer from a rare eye disease called Stargardt disease also have a 50% chance of losing sight due to this phenomenon. If you’re planning on viewing this event, have someone help you with your view since it’s difficult to see without equipment. It’s unlikely that your eyes will get damaged, but the chance is still there if you view it without protection. Wearing eye protection while looking at the sun is important.
Solar eclipses are great opportunities to experience something unique and rare. However, since they are so rare, making intelligent decisions regarding your vision is essential. If you’re planning on viewing it, using eclipse glasses to protect your eyes is the safest way. It’s much safer to view it with a giant telescope or even binoculars since these allow you to see the Sun without looking directly at it. Also, ensure never to look directly at the Sun during any eclipse event, as they can cause damage that may be very hard or impossible to repair.