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Five Tips to Help You Safely View Solar Eclipse in the Valley
GV-Wire-1
By gvwire
Published 2 months ago on
April 5, 2024

In Fresno, the eclipse coverage will reach a maximum of 40.7% at approximately 11:15:01 a.m. on Monday. Protect your eyes with the tips in this story from Dr. Premilla Banwait. (Shutterstock)

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For people in Fresno and hundreds of millions more nationwide, the upcoming solar eclipse offers a great opportunity to view a rare celestial event.

Dr. Premilla Banwait

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun. On Monday, virtually everyone across the country will have the chance (weather permitting) to see at least a partial solar eclipse, while over 31 million people in a narrow path from Texas to Maine will have the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse.

In Fresno, the eclipse coverage will reach a maximum of 40.7% at approximately 11:15:01 a.m.

Steps to Protect Your Eyes

While the solar eclipse is a fun and educational opportunity for everyone, there are precautions you should take to help maintain your eye health while safely viewing this spectacle. Looking at a solar eclipse without proper protection may cause serious eye damage, including blurry vision that can last months, or even permanent problems such as “eclipse blindness.”

To help avoid that, here are five tips from Prevent Blindness to help safely view the solar eclipse:

Get Protected

It is unsafe to look directly at the sun at any time and during a partial or total solar eclipse, other than if you are in the path of totality during the brief total phase. Proper eclipse viewing glasses, which are heavily tinted — much more so than regular sunglasses — can enable you to see the moon track across the orb of the sun until it creates a total eclipse, revealing the sun’s corona.

Avoid Fakes

Use certified solar eclipse glasses, specifically ones that have been reviewed by the International Organization for Standardization, and look out for fake viewers that may be sold. A list of vendors that sell certified solar eclipse glasses is available here. And make sure to read and follow any instructions packaged with or printed on the glasses.

Don’t Add Other Devices

Even while wearing approved solar eclipse glasses, it’s important not to look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Doing so may concentrate the solar rays and damage the filter, enter your eyes, and potentially cause serious injury.

Use Caution During the Moment of Totality

If you are planning to watch the eclipse from along the 13-state path of totality, eclipse glasses should be worn during the entirety of the partial eclipse phase and may only be removed once the moon completely blocks the sun. Once the sun reappears, glasses should be replaced.

Consider a Comprehensive Eye Exam

If you or a loved one experience eye discomfort or vision problems following the solar eclipse, visit a local eye care professional for a comprehensive exam. Importantly, comprehensive eye exams may also identify vision problems while helping with the potential detection of other health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

The upcoming solar eclipse can be a fun and educational opportunity — provided you take the necessary precautions to protect your eye health.

About the Author

Dr. Premilla Banwait is the vice president of Clinical Programs at UnitedHealthcare.

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