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eclipse safety

How to view the solar eclipse without hurting your eyes

On Aug. 21, sky gazers across the country will be treated to the sight of a total solar eclipse – a once-in-a-lifetime event where the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun’s light for a brief period.

This awesome event is cause for excitement – and caution. Staring at the sun without protection – even briefly – can severely damage your eyes, so it’s important to know how to view the eclipse safely.

Here are some tips.

Get special glasses – and beware of fakes

Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes while looking at the eclipse.

Thankfully, inexpensive special eclipse glasses are available that provide protection while still allowing you to watch the event. Beware, however, of glasses that are marketed as safe for the eclipse, but do not meet NASA’s recommended guidelines.

NASA advises you to only purchase eclipse glasses that are made by American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical or TSE 17 and also have the international safety standard ISO 12312-2 printed on them.

Find out if you’re in the path of totality

Although everyone in the continental United States will be able to see some part of the eclipse, only residents along a select path will be able to see the eclipse in totality – or the moment when the sun is completely covered by the moon.

This 70-mile-wide path stretches from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast and includes portions of Western Kentucky. During the moment of totality, which may last for less than a minute in some locations, it is safe to view the the eclipse without glasses.

For those of us outside of the path of totality, however, glasses must be worn at all times. To see a map of the eclipse’s path of totality, visit NASA’s Eclipse 101 guide.

Follow these tips for a fun, safe viewing

No matter where you’re viewing the eclipse, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Keep a close eye on kids watching the eclipse, and make sure they’re wearing eclipse glasses at all times.
  • Even if you’re wearing proper glasses, don’t view the eclipse through a camera, telescope or binoculars. The concentrated rays that comes through the optical device can damage the eclipse filter on your glasses and cause harm to your eyes.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them.
  • Look away from the sun when putting on and removing your eclipse glasses. Never take them off while looking at the sun.

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Many people know the dangers that exposure to sunlight can pose to the skin, but did you know it can also severely damage your eyes?

Here comes the sun! Get outside, but be sure to protect your eyes

Written by Shaista Vally, OD, an optometrist at UK Advanced Eye Care.

Dr. Shaista Vally

Dr. Shaista Vally

The weather is warming up, and sunshine, swimming and the great outdoors are on everyone’s mind. While there is a lot of fun to be had in the summer, we must also consider how to adequately protect our eyes and skin, which can be damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Wear sunglasses with UV protection

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation can cause sunburns and in some cases lead to cancer. UV radiation can also be a catalyst for cataracts, an eye condition marked by blurred vision. The best way to keep your eyes safe in the sun is to wear sunglasses with UV protection that prevent UV rays from entering the eye.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) determines the safety of ophthalmic sunglasses and verifies that they can prevent ultraviolet radiation from damaging the eye. Look for the “ANSI” symbol and “UV protection” when purchasing sunglasses. Keep in mind that cheaper shades are more affordable and trendy, but they may not offer you any protection from ultraviolet radiation.

In fact, wearing sunglasses without protection from ultraviolet radiation can actually do more harm than wearing nothing at all. When you wear nothing over your eyes, your tendency is to squint or keep your eyes closed, and the brightness naturally makes your pupils constrict, allowing fewer harmful rays to enter your eye. But your eyes dilate slightly when you wear tinted lenses, which lets more harmful rays enter your eye.

Apply sunscreen around your eyes

Additionally, the eyelid and eyebrow region is especially susceptible to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which make up 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers. Because the skin around the eye is very thin and contains very little subcutaneous tissue, it makes it easier for tumors to spread to nearby nasal and orbital cavities. Sunscreen with SPF is a simple way to prevent damage to the skin, but people often overlook applying sunscreen to their eyelids and area around their eyes as it often irritates their skin.

Buying facial lotions formulated for sensitive skin and applying a small amount with your eyes closed can prevent it from burning. Some people find that applying their daily facial cream first and allowing it to dry before applying SPF lotion helps prevent sunscreen irritation.

Get out there and enjoy the sunshine, but don’t forget to apply SPF sunscreen around your eyes and wear some UV-protected sunglasses!


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April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, the perfect time for women to learn more about eye issues that affect them more regularly than men.

Women, here’s what you should know about your eyes

Dr. Shaista Vally

Dr. Shaista Vally

Written by Shaista Vally, OD, an optometrist at UK Advanced Eye Care.

Eye health and vision issues can affect everyone, but there are certain conditions that are more common in women than in men. April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month and a great time for women to learn more about the issues that uniquely affect them.

Dry eyes, migraines

With women’s hormonal changes being so frequent throughout their lifetime, including changes associated with birth control, it’s no wonder that women experience eye and vision issues linked with hormonal changes. Two such issues include dry eyes and migraines.

Dry eyes can be annoying and debilitating, but the good news is that they are easy to treat. Artificial tears, emulsions, gels and ointments can offer relief for dry eyes. If heavy lubrication with artificial tear eye drops is not working to manage your symptoms of burning, redness and irritation, speak with your eye doctor about alternative treatment options.

Migraines are severe, painful headaches sometimes accompanied by symptoms of nausea, numbness, light and noise sensitivity, and vomiting. But they can also cause visual disturbances known as scintillating scotomas. These moving lights and patterns, sometimes called a visual aura, can mimic the signs of a retinal detachment or tear. If you see flashes of light or spots in your view, be sure to have a dilated eye exam within 24 hours of these symptoms.

Eye issues linked to obesity

With diabetes and cardiovascular disease on the rise, Americans – both men and women – are struggling with obesity. However, overweight young women of child-bearing ages are at an increased risk for a condition known as idiopathic increased intracranial pressure, or pseudotumor cerebri. This condition causes an increase in brain pressure, damaging the optic nerves and potentially leading to blindness.

Women with pseudotumor cerebri often complain of headaches, ringing sounds in their ears and mild visual blurriness, though sometimes visual symptoms are not present at all. If you think you may be at risk for this condition and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.


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