“Millions of people out there are going to be looking out at it, how many of them are going to say, ‘Something happened to my eyes?’ That makes me sick,” a man warns.
As a result of looking at the sun even for just a few seconds as the moon crossed its surface in the early 1960s, Lou Tomosoki, now 70, still has a blind spot in the centre of the vision of his right eye.
He permanently damaged his eyesight by looking at a partial solar eclipse 55 years ago. He is now warning people not to look directly at the sun during the total eclipse on Monday, August 21.
“I am just so concerned that somebody isn’t going to listen [to the warnings]. I am going to be out in the eclipse, but I am not going to look at the sun at any circumstances, even in the totality,” he reportedly told NBC’s Today.
Tomosoki and his friend were walking home from high school at Bend, Oregon, when the partial eclipse occurred in 1962.
Mr Tomosoki said: “We both got burned at the same time. He got the left eye and I got the right eye… we were just doing it for a short time.”
And now, he has a little blind spot in the centre of his right eye.
An ophthalmologist at Washington University, Professor Russell Van Gelder, told Today: “Anyone who stares at the sun can get this blind spot.”
Read carefully and try to remember the next line for it is very important: You will know that you have a problem, if that blind spot is not gone the next day.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Professor Van Gelder also stressed that it is never safe to look directly at the sun. “The only way to treat solar retinopathy right now is to prevent it and not stare at the sun during the eclipse,” he said.
Also, if you value your mobile phone as much as you love your eye, taking photographs with an ordinary camera or smartphone could also be a mistake according to the professor.
“You can burn out your camera in the cell phone just like your retina,” Van Gelder said.
As defined on Wikipedia, a solar eclipse (as seen from Earth) is a type of eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and when the Moon fully or partially blocks (“occults“) the Sun. A total eclipse occurs when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun, allowing the much fainter solar corona to be visible.
During any one eclipse, totality occurs at best only in a narrow track on the surface of Earth.
Meanwhile, the total eclipse of the heart is a song by Bonnie Tyler. (Just testing if you are still keen about these science stuff. Keep focused because up next are tips — that might just save your eyes):
- Never look at the sun directly without protective eye gear. Even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from the damage the sun’s rays can do to them.
- Always keep your back towards the Sun while looking at a pinhole projection.
- Do not look at the sun through the pinhole, binoculars or telescope.
Regular sunglasses will not do, the Nasa says.
According to NASA, experiencing a total solar eclipse where you live happens about once in 375 years.
Time said that a total solar eclipse will cross the United States from coast to coast on August 21, 2017.
Sadly for Filipinos, the total solar eclipse on August 21 will not be directly experienced or will not be visible in the Philippines. But if you’re a Pinoy astro/science enthusiast, here’s a list of future eclipses visible in Manila; the soonest is on January 31/February 1, 2018.