Coronavirus
Solar Eclipse and Eye Safety
 

​Overview:

  • ​Unprotected observation of a solar eclipse may expose your eyes to harmful sun rays, and may ultimately damage the eye.
  • Normal sunglasses, even the darkest of them, as well as locally made filters, are not safe to look through at the sun, especially during an eclipse.
  • The only safe way to observe a solar eclipse is to wear solar eclipse glasses: they are special eyeglasses designed for this particular purpose.
What is solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth. The moon causes the light of the sun to be blocked from reaching the earth, casting a shadow on the earth.

Types of solar eclipse:
  • Total eclipse: A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the sun. The sun’s outer atmosphere (called the solar corona) glows around the moon when it is blocking the sun.
  • Partial eclipse: A partial solar eclipse is when the moon only blocks part of the sun. 
Unprotected viewing of a solar eclipse may expose your eyes to harmful sun rays, and may ultimately damage the eye.
How can your eyes be affected by a solar eclipse?
  • Permanent damage to the eye, especially the retina: it is the light-sensitive part of the eye that transmits what you see to the brain— this may lead to retinal burns or damage to the retina cells.
  • This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain.
  • It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred.
  • It can also cause eclipse blindness or solar retinopathy.
Symptoms that can occur from looking at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection: 
  • Loss of central vision (solar retinopathy).
  • Distorted vision.
  • Altered color vision.
When to see a doctor?
Upon the onset of the above-mentioned symptoms, after watching a solar eclipse.

Is there a safe way to watch a solar eclipse?
The only safe way to observe a solar eclipse is to wear solar eclipse glasses: they are special eyeglasses designed for this particular purpose. They are supported with solar films and filters and are designed as per specific internationally approved standards (ISO 12312-2).

Tools not to use for watching a solar eclipse:
  • Normal sunglasses, even the darkest of them, as well as locally made filters, are not safe to look through at the sun.
  • Smartphone: Watching a solar eclipse on your smartphone camera can put you at risk of accidentally looking at the sun when trying to line up your camera. It could possibly also damage your smartphone camera.
  • Camera viewfinder: Never look at a solar eclipse through the optical viewfinder of a camera. It can damage your eyes in the same way as looking directly at it.
  • Telescopes: unless specially designed for observing a solar eclipse, by supporting them with the appropriate filters or films.
  • Eclipse glasses: if scratched, wrinkled, or are more than three years old.
Guidelines for safe observation of a solar eclipse:
  • Ensure the eclipse glasses are of high quality and are designed as per the internationally approved standards.
  • Check the solar filter or sunglasses before using them to make sure that they are not scratched or damaged.
  • Make sure that children are using eclipse glasses correctly.
  • Once done with watching the solar eclipse, don’t taking the eclipse glasses off till you turn away from the sun, to avoid direct exposure to the sun rays.
  • Never watch a solar eclipse through a smartphone camera, a camera viewfinder, or telescopes, without using a solar filter.
FAQ:
  • Can a solar eclipse be watched without eclipse glasses?
    • This is only possible during a total eclipse, at that moment when the moon totally covers the sun, and darkness prevails. As the sun begins to reappear gradually, put on the eclipse glasses at once to keep on watching the remaining stages of the eclipse.

Clinical Education General Department
For inquiries, contact us by email​:




Content Evaluation
Reading times
Last Update 10 February 2020 09:12 AM
Do you find this content useful? Yes No Suggest
Satisfaction of visitorsA sign of happiness
Satisfaction of visitors Completely satisfied Satisfied Neutral Not Satisfied Completely dissatisfied
This site can be viewed on all screen tones and all smart devices and supports all kinds of browsers
All Rights Reserved – Ministry of Health – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ©