LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – The solar eclipse is just a few weeks away, and the hype is getting higher every day. Just living in Kentuckiana will guarantee you a good show, but a special pair of glasses will keep your eyes safe, too.
“I think people are getting really excited for it. It’s something that’s special for us. It’s not every day you get an eclipse. Usually, you have to drive thousands of miles to see it as well as we’re going to see it in Kentucky,” VisionFirst optometrist Dr. Derek Wilder said. “I’m super excited. I can’t wait. I’ve already got my glasses ready, and I’m ready to go.”
Dr. Wilder said he’s already starting to hear buzz from his patients about the eclipse. He sees a lot of eyes in his line of work and knows how to protect that prized pair of pupils.
"As long as you wear the sunglasses, you shouldn't have any problems,” Dr. Wilder said. “They protect you well enough to look at the eclipse without any fear.”
He’s not talking about just any standard pair of spectacles, though. Your regular Ray Bans and everyday aviators won't cut it when it comes to the eclipse.
"They aren't strong enough. They don't block enough of the UV light to protect your eyes,” Dr. Wilder said.
That's where the special pair steps up to the plate.
"It's almost 100% blockage, enough that you can see obviously, but they protect your eyes at a much higher degree,” Dr. Wilder said.
The eclipse may only last a few minutes, but looking at it the wrong way can create problems that won't disappear.
"Eclipse or not, you shouldn't be looking directly at the sun at all. You can actually permanently damage from looking at the sun for too long. It's called solar retinopathy. You can actually cause a permanent blind spot in your vision. Obviously, we don't want that,” Dr. Wilder said. “I don’t see it a lot, but it seems like the people that have it were the people that looked at an eclipse that specifically looked at the sun for a long time.”
The festive frames won't just save your vision. They'll also give you a better show.
"You can see it better through these because it blocks a lot of the glare. Not only does it protect, but it actually does help you see it better,” Dr. Wilder said.
It may seem simple, but there is an art to wearing the glasses to ensure your eclipse experience is exceptional.
"You don't want them like this. You want them like this, and you want to make sure they're not damaged or scratched. You want to make sure they're nice and level and tight against your face,” Dr. Wilder said.
You can get the glasses for just a couple of bucks, and Dr. Wilder said it’s well worth every penny.
"The main thing is prevention. You don't want to be in that situation. You don't want to put yourself there. All you've got to do is wear these. It's very simple,” Dr. Wilder said.
There are five approved manufacturers for the eclipse glasses:
- American Paper Optics
- Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
- Rainbow Symphony
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
Just make sure to look for the international standard code ISO 12312-2.
“That just means they block the approved level of harmful radiation from the sun,” Dr. Wilder said.
That standard should be listed on the inside of the frames.