There Goes the Sun!

Total_solar_eclipseMany Americans are about to see something that hasn’t been seen in our country in almost 40 years…..a total solar eclipse. Here in Arizona, we will get more of a partial eclipse, so at it’s peak – the sun will be about 70 percent covered.

Now, before you go rushing outside to take a look….listen to what the experts are saying about viewing the eclipse. From U.S. News & World Report:

Monday’s solar eclipse could cause thousands of people to lose vision if they don’t take the proper precautions, one expert warns.

Unless you’re living under a very large and heavy rock, you probably know that a solar eclipse is coming Monday. It’s the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in close to a century. But you probably don’t know all the damage it could do to your eyes if you look directly at it without proper eyewear.

University of Washington’s Dr. Russell N. Van Gelder, who is planning to be in Casper, Wyoming, Monday to see the solar eclipse in its totality, likens staring directly at the sun to burning leaves outside with a magnifying glass – but worse. The focusing power of the eye is about four times that of a magnifying glass, which takes only seconds to burn a leaf or a piece of paper.

The sun’s rays are strong enough to kill cells right in the middle of your vision, leading to what’s called solar retinopathy. Put simply: Staring at the sun without eye protection is like burning the back of your retina, the back layer of your eyeball. And you wouldn’t even know you’re doing it because the retina has no pain fibers.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), “It is never safe to look directly at a partialEclipse_Glasses
eclipse without special eclipse glasses or filters — and most of the country will see only a
partial eclipse”…..and that includes our state.

Many national online websites have been writing about an Oregon man who looked at a partial eclipse as he walked home from high school in 1962. His vision has never been the same. Live Science quoted Louis Tomososki, who is now 70, as saying he closed his left eye and viewed it with his right eye for about 20 seconds.

“That’s all it took,” Tomososki said. He now has a small blind spot in the center of his right eye, which hasn’t gotten any better or worse since 1963.

If you are still determined to view the eclipse, make sure you have a pair of eclipse glasses that meet proper ISO 12312-2 international safety standards and not regular sunglasses. If you don’t, Forbes Magazine has another suggestion…..a pinhole projector.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s eclipse and whether you will be looking up into the sky to see it or watching it on tv. Highlighting the health stories making headlines and driving conversations about those stories is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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