What to look for in eyewear for the eclipse

Published: Jul. 24, 2017 at 11:24 AM CDT
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The total solar eclipse on August 21 is going to be here before we know it.

If you plan to watch, make sure you have the proper eye protection because if you don't, you could suffer permanent eye damage.

Let's be honest, when there's an eclipse a lot of us are going to end up looking at the sun, trying to squint our way through it.

So you might wonder, "'How much can I get away with?' and 'Does it change if I wear sunglasses?'"

Dr. Greyson Barger, with Opticology Eyecare in Wichita, says the answer is no.

"Do not use your regular sunglasses," said Barger. "Your tinted, your polarized lenses, that won't protect you. It could actually allow more light into the eye."

Barger says his patients started asking him this week about the August 21st eclipse.

Their questions surround keeping their eyes safe. Each time he tells them the same thing, not to look directly into the sun.

"Do not bother looking at the sun for even a second without the appropriate filters that you can purchase for looking at the sun. Not worth it. Not worth it. You only have two eyes," said Barger.

The appropriate filters he's talking about are paper glasses. Think 3D glasses with special filters as lenses. If you're looking to buy a pair, make sure it meets the proper requirements.

You can find that information on the inside of the glasses.

You're looking for ISO 12312-2. That's the standard rating for approved lenses to look at the sun safely. A welding mask with a number 14 shield will also work.

"If you wear the appropriate solar filters, you can look at it as long as you want," said Barger.

But what happens if you do not have the appropriate filters and you look at the sun?

"The number one thing you want to worry about is if you're having the blind spots that don't go away. Similar to if you get your photo taken. If that flash of light in your vision doesn't go away after ten minutes or so, seek help," said Barger.