solar eclipse

Solar Eclipses and Soundgarden

Next week, April 8, we’ll have a solar eclipse crossing a central swath of the continental United States and Canada. This rare event happens when the moon dances its way between the earth and the sun and obstructs our view. It can be a time when we’re tempted to stare in wonder. But don’t do it!

As the moon travels in front of the sun, partially like in an annular eclipse or completely like in a total eclipse, the sun’s most powerful rays that escape along the sides of the moon can induce the equivalent of a solar burn to the back of your eye. Unlike the sunburn on your skin from being out in the sun for too long without sunscreen, the damage to the fragile retina in the back of your eye can be permanent. Four to eight hours after staring at the eclipse unprotected, you may develop central blindness, also called solar retinopathy.


And now that I have Chris Cornell in my ear singing “Black Hole Sun”, I want to remind you about a blog post from just a few weeks ago [insert link], when I explained the importance of our vision and steps we can take to preserve it.  

So how can the littles and all of us take a peek at this rare event?

Throughout history, eclipses have influenced religions, cultures and also provided a fantastic laboratory for scientists to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity and investigate the solar corona. So no wonder I want to take a peek on April 8th! It’s best to follow NASA’s recommendations. Regular sunglasses are not strong enough!  If you happen to be a welder with OSHA certified special UV protective goggles that shade 12 or higher, those will work. Or you can order special glasses that meet the international safety standard ISO-12312-2 and will filter out the most dangerous UV rays. You can purchase them from The National Center for Interactive Learning Space Science Institute (NCLSSI) at their website or on amazon. The NASA website and NCLSSI also explain how to make a cardboard projector to show solar eclipse images projected onto the ground. This article tells how you can identify fake eclipse glasses.

So, if you find yourself on lunch break in Carbondale, Illinois, on April 8th, be sure to safely take a moment, to reflect on the wonder of the sun and the gift of your vision.  (Marijke is in Montreal, where most of the island of Montreal is in the path of totality. She is so excited about seeing it!) And continue to join us as we decipher your health.  



The information in this blog is provided as an information and educational resource only. It is not to be used or relied upon for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

The blog does not represent or guarantee that its information is applicable to a specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content in this blog is not to be interpreted as medical advice from any of the authors or contributors. It is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare professional.