Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can ‘Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina’

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – Do you have the right eye protection ready to see the solar eclipse? You’d better.

We won’t see the total eclipse in Colorado. The sun will be partially eclipsed and just as dangerous to your eyes as it is normally.

eclipse 2 Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina

(credit: CBS)

“From here, (Denver) we’ll see a 92 percent eclipse, which is pretty good,” said Naomi Pequette, Space Science Educator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “We will see it get darker. It will get cooler. It’ll look kind of like twilight as the moon goes to cover the sun.”

It’s okay to be fascinated by the celestial event, but don’t be foolish. Sunglasses and unfiltered cameras, telescopes and binoculars aren’t good enough for viewing.

eyes Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina

Dr. Richard Davidson (credit: CBS)

“Even the sliver of sun that’s visible is still dangerous for the eye,” explained opthamologist Dr. Richard Davidson at the UCHealth Eye Center.

“You can burn literally burn a hole in the retina, damage those nerve cells and result in permanent vision loss,” Davidson told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Pequette says she knows a man who watched through a telescope without the right protective filter.

“All that heat and light was concentrated and the filter cracked and that left a zig zag pattern on the back of his eye where he is blind there.”

eclipse Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina

(credit: CBS)

To see the solar eclipse safely with a telescope Pequette says you need a solar filter.

“Glass-coated, so it only let’s through one one thousandth of one percent of the light,” she said.

interview1 Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Naomi Pequette. (credit: CBS)

She says you can punch a small hole in a piece of paper and make a pinhole camera that projects an image of the eclipse.

“The sun is up here. It would be shining through this little hole and you would project it back onto a sheet of paper or cardboard or a wall.”

Pequette explained inexpensive eclipse glasses with a safe film are popular. She says make sure they are ISO certified. Look for the number 12312-2 inside.

And buyer beware of fakes.

eclipse 3 Without Proper Glasses, Eclipse Can Literally Burn A Hole In The Retina

(credit: CBS)

“There are a lot of fake eclipse glasses going around being sold on Amazon and other online retailers,” said Pequette.

Whatever you do, don’t miss this eclipse or you’ll have to wait until 2045 for the next total solar eclipse in this part of the country.

NASA.GOV LINK: How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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