Dr. Conroy Warns Against Watching the Solar Eclipse Monday
Local News August 20, 2017 Staff Writer 0
Dr. John Conroy of Conroy Eye Care in Milbank advises everyone, especially children, to find a safe method to view Monday’s eclipse. The solar eclipse on August 21, is a rare astronomical event – the moon slides across the face of the sun. It will be visible across the continental United States, but at varying degrees. The 2017 eclipse will be the first of its kind to cross the US coast to coast in nearly 100 years.
Dr. Conroy warns against watching the event live without adequate eye protection. “Ultimately, it would be best if it was a cloudy day or if people stay inside and watch it on TV,” he says. “The macula is the center of your retina and the fovea is the center of the macula. There is only one tiny point in the retina that gives you excellent vision. When you look at something like the sun, it will damage those cells, sometimes permanently. You may not notice it right away. You can get a cloudiness or distorted vision or what’s called an after-image right away, but the damage might not appear for a year or two down the road. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the burns. It’s worse than watching a welder.”
Dr. Conroy says children are more susceptible to retinal damage than adults. “When we are older we have more protection of the lenses, more protection than a child has, so you need to make sure children do not watch the eclipse.”
There are other ways to watch the eclipse. You can use or make a pinhole projector, use a telescope with a solar filter on it, or the best and safest way is on the internet. NASA will livestream the event on their website. “I would not use a mirror to watch it either, as that can still cause damage to the retina,” says Conroy.
Special glasses can be used to view the eclipse, but Dr. Conroy does not recommend them. “Some are ok; some are certified by NASA. But, if there is a flaw, or they are not just right, you can still burn your retina. Some offices hand out glasses to watch the eclipse, but I choose not to do that. There is just too great a risk.”
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