South Florida

How to Protect Your Eyes When Watching the Eclipse

For close to three minutes next Monday countless eyes will be to the sky to experience a rare wonder - a total eclipse. We won't have front row seats to the whole show here in South Florida - but enthusiasm is still high.

"I think it's going to be exciting to watch for the first time,” says Mallory Williams, a local 6th grade student.

But you need to take precaution if you plan to watch the partial eclipse on display in our area. Ophthalmologist Dr. Roberto Warman at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is making sure his patients are aware of the dangers.

"Rays that come from the sun can very easily burn your retina in the back of the eye and give you a permanent scar," says Dr. Warman.

He's passing out the special NASA-certified glasses you need to wear to protect your eyes while watching the eclipse. Mallory’s mom is pleased.

"We have a pair of the certified eyewear, so at least I can send the girls to school so if they're outside and have to opportunity to view the eclipse they're well protected," says Patti Williams.

Not all protective glasses are created equal - they need to have the ISO Seal of Approval, from the International Standards Organization, and be unscratched, - essentially untouched to properly protect your vision.

"If they have scratches, if they're bent, if you put them in your pocket and take them out, the light might go right through them and you won't know, so they have to be basically new lenses in good condition," says Dr. Warman.

The same goes with sunglasses, binoculars or a telescope - it's not enough to shield your eyes from the sun's harmful rays. The safest way to watch the phenomenon – Dr. Warman says - catch it on television!

As the eclipse creeps closer, the right glasses are getting harder to come by. Some online retailers have sold out - others like recalled some versions because they didn't have the right safety seal. So if you're trying to get a pair - make sure they're the right ones! Only one week left.

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