We don't have a lot of public health issues in ophthalmology where we're really anxious about things that threaten the eye health of the population ... Children are at highest risk. It takes just a few seconds for the smoke to start.
You can burn holes in your retina.
We all have a natural aversion to staring at very bright lights, but we also have the ability to overcome it.
Getting a pair of eclipse glasses is easy enough, several area stores are carrying them, as is Omni Eye Specialists (although they sold out of their first order, Schmidt says they will have some more soon).
The damage is known as solar retinopathy.
There have been reports of people becoming legally blind in at least one eye after watching eclipses, Van Gelder said. Goldberg shows us how one works in the video player above. Dark sunglasses and homemade filters are not safe for looking at the sun. Remember that a telescope and camera will focus that sunlight, so do not look through either of these while wearing your eclipse glasses.
"Air on the side of caution then on the side of being able to see if because afterwards you may not be able to see anything" said Dr. Cannon.
"These glasses basically turn day to night", he noted.
The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable eclipse glasses and hand-held viewers on its website - stamped with this approval code - 12312-2.
You must look for glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 global standard for such products, NASA advises. You can also get glasses from your local library. This time around, he'll watch the eclipse on television.
"It's so unsafe for people to look at the sun even for brief periods of time because you can cause permanent damage to the retina", Dr. Van Gelder said. "The eclipse glasses are really simple, it's just layers upon layers, and the color of the lenses is unique to that wavelength that will be coming off the sun", Schmidt said.
Of course, during the event even with proper eclipse glasses, you'll need to put them on BEFORE you look at the sun and look AWAY from the sun before you take them off again. We want you to enjoy this cool event, and to walk away with the eyesight you had before you saw it!