Solar eclipses themselves are not any more dangerous than the sun we are exposed to on a daily basis. The sun emits high levels of Ultraviolet (UV) light which is damaging to our eyes, but it is so bright that we are not inclined to look directly at it. In waiting for an eclipse, people become tempted to gaze into the sun for extended periods of time and this creates permanent retinal scarring. You might not even notice the injury until the next morning when you notice black spots or half crescents in your vision.

In short, as long as you do not look directly at the sun (eclipse or not), special eye protection is not required. If you do plan on viewing the eclipse, be sure to wear adequate eye protection rated for high levels of UV. Specifically, you want to be wearing eye protection that meets or exceeds ISO 12312-2 standard.

For more information visit NASA’s Eclipse Viewing Safety page.

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