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Protecting Your Eyes During the Eclipse

As celestial events capture our attention, one occurrence demands special caution: the April 8 solar eclipse. While eclipses are awe-inspiring phenomena, observing them directly can pose severe risks to your eyesight. With the next eclipse on the horizon, it’s crucial to understand how to safeguard your vision effectively.

Understanding the Risks 

“The allure of witnessing a solar eclipse can tempt many to glance directly at the sun, but this can result in irreversible eye damage,” said Mark Jansen, M.D., chief medical officer for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “The intense light emitted during an eclipse can overwhelm the retina, causing solar retinopathy, a condition characterized by blurry vision, blind spots, or even permanent blindness.”

Safe Viewing Practices

Fortunately, there are safe methods to observe an eclipse without jeopardizing your eyesight:

  • Solar Viewing Glasses: Invest in ISO-certified solar viewing glasses. These specialized glasses block harmful ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation while allowing you to observe the eclipse safely. Ensure your glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. Be sure to pick up your FREE glasses at one of our ArkansasBlue Welcome Center locations.
  • Pinhole Projectors: Create a pinhole projector using cardboard to view the eclipse indirectly. This simple device projects an image of the sun onto a surface, such as a piece of paper, allowing you to witness the eclipse without direct eye exposure.
  • Telescopes and Filters: If you plan to use telescopes or cameras to capture the eclipse, affix solar filters to the front of the lenses. These filters block the sun’s intensity, enabling you to view the eclipse without harming your eyes.

Arkansas Eclipse History

The last solar eclipse visible in Arkansas occurred on August 21, 2017. Known as the “Great American Eclipse,” it traversed a path across the United States, captivating millions as it cast its shadow from coast to coast. In Arkansas, observers witnessed a partial eclipse, with approximately 90% of the sun obscured by the moon’s shadow.

This year, Arkansas has a front row seat for this event, which will be happening on April 8. A large portion of the state will be in the path of totality, allowing many Arkansans a great view. The cities of Little Rock, Conway, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Russellville and Texarkana fall within the path of totality.

Eclipse Safety Reminder

As the next eclipse approaches, remember that safeguarding your eyesight should be a top priority. By following these safety guidelines and utilizing approved viewing methods, you can experience the wonder of a solar eclipse without compromising your vision. Let’s cherish these celestial marvels responsibly, ensuring that avoidable eye injuries do not overshadow the memories we create.

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