Princess Alexandra doctor offers advice over Solar Eclipse

Communities / Thu 19th Mar 2015 at 11:48am

Solar EclipseAN eye expert specialising in retinal disease at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has warned people to take special care if they are hoping to glimpse tomorrow’s (Friday 20 March) solar eclipse – the first since August 1999.

The partial solar eclipse will be visible from the UK and Ireland at approximately 8:45am until 9:00am. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and the moon blocks the sun from view. It is an interesting phenomenon and a fantastic spectacle, but it could be potentially blinding.

Mr Nick Georgakarakos, Consultant Opthamologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon from Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust warned: “You should not look directly at the eclipse without protection. Looking directly at the sun can induce retinal burns, therefore causing an irreversible loss of vision.”

Nick added: “Solar burns to the retina are painless and the loss of vision is not noticed immediately. It can take days for symptoms to develop and there is no treatment for this.”

Those hoping to catch the eclipse should heed the following advice:

· Do not look at the sun with unprotected eyes, or through binoculars, camera lens or telescopes.

· Avoid looking at the eclipse via smoked glass, photographic filters, sunglasses or polarised shades.

· If you use eclipse glasses, these should be made from safe solar materials and used with a rating of 14 or higher (similar to eye protection worn by welders).

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