Eye Care, Newsletter

How to Safely View the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse

Image of a solar eclipse

The next total solar eclipse will cross North America on April 8, 2024 (Image at right by kjpargeter on Freepik).

A truly awe-inspiring event, a solar eclipse is when the moon blocks any part of the sun from our view. The bright face of the sun is covered gradually by the moon during a partial eclipse, lasting a few hours. During the brief period of a total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun (only a couple of minutes), the light of day gives way to a deep twilight sky. The sun’s outer atmosphere (called the solar corona) gradually appears, glowing like a halo around the moon in front of it. Bright stars and planets become more visible in the sky.

Watching a solar eclipse is a memorable experience, but looking directly at the sun can seriously damage your eyes. Staring at the sun for even a short time without wearing the right eye protection can damage your retina permanently. It can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy.

There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not: through special-purpose solar filters. These solar filters are used in “eclipse glasses” or in hand-held solar viewers. They must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2 (scroll down for related article, Where to Get Solar Eclipse Glasses).

Keep in mind that ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, or homemade filters are not safe for looking at the sun.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Solar eclipse eyewear image

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

image of a baseball player wearing protective eye goggles

Nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year, according to the most recent estimates we have. The good news is that 90% of serious eye injuries could be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eyewear.

What Sports Cause Eye Injuries?

Eye injuries can happen in almost any sport, but some sports are higher risk than others.

Basketball causes most sports eye injuries in the U.S.

One study found that basketball was the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States followed by baseball, softball, airsoft rifles, pellet guns, racquetball and hockey.

Protective sports glasses with shatterproof plastic, called polycarbonate lenses, should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sports standard. Read our full guidelines about protective eyewear for sports and activities for additional details.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Protect Your Scalp from Skin Cancer

We urge all our patients with thinning hair to try this product from Zenonlife.com to protect your scalp from skin cancer. The gentle, natural ingredients, developed by dermatologist Steven Wang, MD, combine to make your hair look great!

Right now, Bedminster Eye & Laser patients can enjoy an introductory 15% discount on this product. Order Zenon by visiting Zenonlife.com and entering discount code ZL15OFF at checkout.

Connect with The Optical Shoppe

(908) 719-2020

Where to Get Solar Eclipse Glasses

If you’re among the millions of people expecting to view the next eclipse, make sure you purchase solar eclipse filters and glasses from reputable manufacturers. There have been reports that some companies are selling counterfeit products labeled as if they conform to international safety standards.

In response, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) says it is no longer sufficient to look for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) logo on eclipse glasses and filters. The AAS has a list of companies whose products are known to conform to ISO standards, as vetted by the AAS.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Connect with The Optical Shoppe

(908) 719-2020

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