Something is happening at UGA…

Check out the UGA event page here.
What:  A near total eclipse (99.07%) of the sun

When:  August 21, 2017, beginning around 1pm and ending around 4pm

Why:  As the moon moves between the sun and the earth, it blocks the light coming from the sun, causing darkness in the middle of the day.  A total eclipse has not crossed the Continental U.S. since June 1918 (with the last that touched a small part of the US happening in 1991).

This is a rare and exciting event! But it can also be dangerous to your eyes.

So how can you safely watch this event?

The safest way to view and eclipse is indirectly. NASA has a list of indirect viewing techniques on their website.

If you opt to purchase safety eye filters:

  • It is important to purchase them from a certified vendor (these are also listed on the NASA website).
  • Once your receive your filters, closely inspect them for any scratches or damage that might allow high energy light to enter your eyes.

Athens will not experience a total eclipse, so at NO point during the event will it be safe to remove the filters.  Aside from specialized solar shields no other type of eyewear will provide adequate protection. (No, not even your sunglasses!)

It is important to understand that even though the visible light from the sun is almost completely blocked by the event, a significant amount of UV light and other radiation is still being emitted. If you have ever tried to look directly at the sun, you know that your eyes have a safety reflex due to the bright light that forces you to close your eyes and look away.  This natural reflex does not occur during an eclipse.  Because of this lack of reflex you can accidentally expose your eyes to the damaging light still coming from the sun.  This high energy light (which is not visible to us) destroys the RODS and CONES in your retina.  These specialized cells are what allow us to detect light and see.  Once these cells are damaged they are not regrown and central BLINDNESS will occur.

Source: American Optometric Association

Have fun with your fellow Dawgs and enjoy this unique event…but please be safe while doing so!

Written by: Dr. Angela Ellerman, Lead Optometrist for the UHC Vision Clinic
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