Craig eye doctor offers safety tips for viewing Monday’s solar eclipse | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig eye doctor offers safety tips for viewing Monday’s solar eclipse

It is not safe to directly view the sun without special protective eye wear with an ISO of 12312-2. Leigh Sokol, Craig Press graphic designer, models a pair of eclipse glasses.

On Monday a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years.

Proper eye protection is necessary to prevent irreversible damage when enjoying the eclipse and regular sunglasses do not offer protection, said Dr. Craig Eckroth of Eye Care Specialties.

Looking directly at the sun damages the macular — the structure responsible for clear central vision.

"Sun damage causes blurry vision that is not usually reversible," said Eckroth.

The only way to safely view the sun is by using ISO 12312-2 compliant and CE certified glasses or filters.

Eye Care Specialties gave away 1,000 special eclipse glasses over the past couple of weeks before running out on Thursday.

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"When wearing the glasses, press them tight against the eyes and no peaking. It can take only seconds to fry the eyes," Eckroth said. "You don't have to look at the sun to see some of the neat effects of the eclipse."

Animals and people have been known to behave strangely during a total eclipse.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has rounded up some of the stranger stories and debunked eclipse myths in "Legends and Lore."

According to one story, In Cambodia, in 1995, soldiers shot into the air to scare a mythic dragon from the sky resulting in casualties from stray bullets.

In another story from the almanac, astronomers found hotel staff in 1991 in Baja, California weeping and wailing during the onset of darkness. And in 2010, during the annular eclipse, many people stayed home, out of fear.

Many superstitions of the dangers on eclipse day have been debunked, but driving could be hazardous.

"Some experts are predicting up to 600,000 more people cramming into Wyoming to witness this. That's basically doubling the population of the state," wrote Jared Fiel, Colorado Department of Transportation Region 4 communications manager in a recent news release.

Many people traveling to Wyoming will drive Colorado highways and heavy traffic is expected on Highway 13, Interstate 25, U.S. Highway 287 and U.S. Highway 85 over the weekend. Even heavier traffic is expected after the eclipse passes.

CDOT encourages eclipse watchers to be careful and to plan ahead. Visit cotrip.org for Colorado traffic information or at wyoroad.info for real-time traffic updates in Wyoming.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

10 safety tips

1. Inspect eclipse glasses to be sure they are genuine, CE certified and meet the ISO rating.

2. Check that the protective coating hasn’t been scratched.

3. Ensure the lenses are without holes.

4. Eclipse glasses should not be used with optics, such as telescopes or binoculars that intensify the light, exceeding the ISO rating.

5. Check that special filters are being used on optics.

6. Be cautious when using cell phone apps as the intense light could fry your phone.

7. Young children or people unable to resist the urge to look directly at the sun should stay inside and watch live coverage of the eclipse from NASA.

8. Limit the time you look at the sun, watching it for only 2 to 3 minutes before giving your eyes a break.

9. The sun may also be viewed indirectly using a pinhole camera.

10. Pay attention to your surroundings.

If you don’t have pair of eclipse glasses, NASA’s total eclipse website has instructions for making a pinhole camera.

Source: Dr. Craig Eckroth, Eye Care Specialties