Not wearing protective eyewear during the eclipse will mean irreversible eye damage

Not wearing protective eyewear during the eclipse will mean irreversible eye damage

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Many of you already have your glasses for the total solar eclipse coming up August 21, but after warnings from NASA about vendors selling unapproved glasses that may not protect your eyes, it might be a good idea to double check.

Unfortunately, what can be a fun and exciting day can also be a really dangerous one. Eclipse glasses are available from various outlets, however, you will want to make sure you have the right ones to protect your eyes.

"You need to be really serious about it because you can actually burn a hole in the retina, specifically the area called the fovea, which controls our central 30-degree field of vision," Optometrist Peter Candela of Candela Eye Care said.

The fovea provides your clearest vision of all.

"Kind of like looking through binoculars," Candela said.

He is stressing the importance of NASA approved eyewear as the eclipse inches closer and says without them, the damage done to your eyes by the sun will be irreversible.

"It can cause distortion of your vision and take somebody who normally could be seeing 20/20 and make them see 20/40, 20/80, 20/400 – it could really damage the longer you go ahead and look without having the proper eyewear on," Candela explained.

The proper eyewear will have one important clue.

"The key to know whether you have good ones, or not good ones is this ISO designation," says Candela.

The City of Columbia is sponsoring 100,000 pairs eclipse glasses and by attending any of their events, your glasses are included. The Richland Libraries are also handing out free glasses August 19 & 20.

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