Solar Eclipse Information
On August 21st, America will experience a solar eclipse, the first to cross the entire continental U.S. since 1918. Quincy Medical Group (QMG) wants to ensure that individuals are taking the proper steps to safely experience the event.
QMG Ophthalmologist Dr. Eric Sieck says one of the easiest ways to safely view the eclipse is with special glasses to protect your eyes from the harmful solar rays to prevent solar retinopathy. “The direct sunlight effect on the retina is very damaging. It can cause long term scarring, loss of vision, and potential for serious injury,” explained Dr. Sieck.
In fact, Dr. Sieck said 90% of solar retinopathy cases come from eclipse viewing. In some areas of the country, people will experience “totality” when the sun is completely blocked. In Quincy and the immediate surrounding areas, Dr. Sieck said there will be no safe time to view the eclipse without proper eyewear. “In our area it could be a little deceiving, we’re going to have almost 97% of the eclipse, but that 3% of the sun that’s peeking around the moon is going to be very damaging,” he said.
“The region will get to a point when the eclipse will look like a diamond ring, where almost the entire sun will be covered, but there will be one little hot spot and people will be tempted to look at the diamond ring, but that’s when the worst potential injury could happen,” he explained.
Children are more susceptible to damage, so parents need to be conscientious in protecting their children. “Their eye tissue is younger, the structures in their eyes are much clearer, there’s more transmission of the energy to back of the eye. People need to take care of their children first with appropriate eyewear before they put their own eyewear on,” he explained.
Choosing proper eyewear is important, said Dr. Sieck. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), many glasses may not have lenses that are certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), meaning their lenses may not provide adequate protection from looking directly at the sun. Eclipse viewing glasses should meet all the following criteria:
- Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
- Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
- Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
- Not use homemade filters or be substituted with ordinary sunglasses -- not even very dark ones -- because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun
Quincy Medical Group has partnered with WGEM-TV to provide solar eclipse viewing glasses throughout the area.
On Monday, August 7, glasses will be available while supplies last at Quincy Medical Group (1025 Maine St.) on the first floor or in the Eye Department, located on the 4th floor.
Please limit 4 per family. Teachers may show their school badge to receive 30 pairs.