Mayo Clinic offers tips to safely watch the solar eclipse

Published 10:25 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

Did you know a rare celestial event is just around the corner?

Weather permitting, people in the U.S. will be treated to a solar eclipse Monday.

A solar eclipse is when the moon blocks the sun. A lot of people will be viewing a total eclipse or a partial eclipse across the country. While the eclipse is going to be a momentous occasion, it’s something experts say you need to enjoy safely.

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“Never look directly into the sun without proper eye protection,” Della Simmons, a Mayo Clinic Health System optometrist, said. “Solar eclipse glasses with ISO 12312-2 certification or a welding shield with protective shade #14 are the proper ways to view the eclipse and mitigate the risk of vision loss. Regular sunglasses do not offer nearly enough protection for eclipse viewing and if used to view the eclipse can cause severe and permanent vision loss.”

Simmons advises eclipse viewers to follow these safety tips from the American Optometric Association and the American Astronomical Society:

Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, don’t use them.

Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses. Help children use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.

Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — don’t remove it while looking at the sun.

Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices.

This is important even if you’re wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.

Talk with an expert astronomer if you want to use a special solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

“Also, children may be tempted to peek at the eclipse,” Simmons said. “Please supervise children while outdoors and ensure they protect their eyes as well.”

The eclipse can be streamed live on