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Optometrists Warn Of Eye Damage While Viewing The Eclipse

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In Rigby, Idaho at exactly 11:32 a.m. next Monday, the shadow of the moon will completely block the sun resulting in a total eclipse for three minutes.

Optometrist Michael Conklin said the event has increased the likelihood people will look directly at the sun.

“It’s drawing people’s attention to look directly at it and that’s when the intensity of the light is so severe that it can burn a hole in your retina. Squinting directly at the sun, or looking at it with sunglasses, if you were to look directly at the fireball itself, you would get the same retinal damage as looking directly at the eclipse.”

While solar eclipses occur across the globe every year, the Great American Eclipse will track a path of totality from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. However, most of the nation will only experience a partial eclipse.

“I’ve certainly seen many people in my practice with these burn holes in their retina from looking at the eclipse at different parts of the country or across the world. They happen to encounter it not in the path of totality, where you get a total eclipse, but where you get a partial eclipse.  They look up at it with the naked eye long enough to burn their retina” said Dr. Conklin.

Make sure you've purchased eclipse glasses approved by the International Organization of Standardization or ISO. Counterfeit producers can easily copy the ISO compliance logo and print it on defective glasses. Visit the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website for a list of reputable vendors and other safety information.