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WATCH OUT FOR THE ECLIPSE

19 March 2015

How dark will it get? Why do birds stop flying? How cold will it get? Why can't we look at it?

If our children are anything to go by, there is much anticipation about tomorrow's eclipse. There's been a lot of advice about how to safely view the eclipse but some of it is misleading.

The only guaranteed safe way to view the eclipse is by looking at it indirectly – by setting up a pinhole projector or holding a colander and looking at the eclipse projected onto a piece of card or paper whilst facing away from the sun.

Never be tempted to take a quick glance at the sun (even through a camera or other instrument). Our eyes are simply not able to cope with the intensity of light which can burn our retinas, causing permanent loss of sight. I have seen a number of patients who wish they had taken more care, as they now have lost sight after direct viewing of an eclipse. 

Using eclipse glasses can be risky, too. If the filters are even slightly scratched or damaged then you risk sun damage.

The College of Optometrists has issued a warning about taking selfies with the eclipse in the background, as....
"Inadvertently glancing at the sun - even briefly while setting up a shot - can lead to burns at the back of eye."

I'm looking forward to experiencing it and watching TV coverage later in the day.

Let's hope it's a clear day!

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