Solar Eclipse Viewing and Eye Safety

On August 21st, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible in North America.  The Boise area will experience the solar eclipse from 10:10 am until 12:50 pm with the maximum phase happening at 11:27 am.  The last time a total eclipse was visible in the Northwestern U.S was February 26th, 1979 making this a remarkable event to behold. 

Unfortunately, looking directly at the sun – even for short periods of time – can permanently damage the retina. The only safe way to view the eclipse is by using special solar filters. Standard sunglasses, regardless of how dark they are, are not safe for viewing the eclipse.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, viewing glasses “must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.” Because of this, homemade solar eclipse viewers can also be dangerous.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following steps to keep yourself safe during the solar eclipse:

  • Read and follow the directions that come with your solar filter or eclipse glasses. Children may require additional guidance and assistance.
  • Do not use your solar filter or eclipse glasses if they are damaged. Carefully examine them before use, making sure that there are no scratches or dents.
  • Cover your eyes with the solar filter or eclipse glasses BEFORE you look at the sun. Do not remove it until you’re no longer facing the eclipse.
  • Do not view the eclipse through an unfiltered camera, telescope or binoculars EVEN IF YOU ARE USING PROPER EYE PROTECTION. These devices can intensify the solar rays, harming your eyes regardless of whether you’re using a solar filter or eclipse glasses.
  • The only time you can view the eclipse without a solar viewer is when the sun is completely covered by the moon. The moment the bright sun begins to reappear, you must immediately use your solar viewer to avoid damaging your eyes.

For more information about how to view the solar eclipse – as well as where to acquire safe solar viewing devices – visit the American Astronomical Society.

While supplies last, stop into Intermountain Eye Centers and show us that you liked, reviewed, or checked-in on our Facebook page to receive a free pair of safe-viewing solar eclipse glasses.