Get the right glasses: Protect your eyes from damage during the - FOX Carolina 21

Get the right glasses: Protect your eyes from damage during the solar eclipse

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Children view eclipse with filtered glasses (Source: Associated Press) Children view eclipse with filtered glasses (Source: Associated Press)

While millions of people will be turning their heads to the sky on August 21 to view the total solar eclipse as it sends a line of darkness across the US, including the Upstate.

However, eyecare experts are warning people to protect their eyes while watching the rare astronomical event.

During the solar eclipse, the moon will pass directly between the sun and the earth and will appear to be the same size, and will cast a shadow on the earth’s surface.

The Upstate is expected to see more than two minutes of total darkness.

The Greenville Health System’s Eye Institute said it’s not the eclipse itself that poses a threat.

“When unprotected eyes look at the sun for more than just a glimpse, the intense visible light and focused infrared radiation can damage or even destroy light-sensitive rod and cone cells inside the retina, or leave permanent scarring,” GHS said.

James Pressly, MD, an ophthalmologist at the GHS Eye Institute, said looking at the sun during an eclipse can actually be more dangerous because the darkness accompanying the eclipse may keep people from squinting and averting their eyes.

Eyes can be damaged even if only a small sliver of the sun is visible, and people likely won’t feel any pain or indications that damage is being done until later, and the damage could last for lengthy periods of time.

To protect against this eye damage, GHS is urging eclipse viewers to wear NASA-approved glasses that have special filters that block at minimum nearly one hundred percent of the sun’s visible and non-visible rays.

GHS said sunglasses won’t do the trick.

The GHS Eye Institute is offering NASA-approved glasses at their three Upstate locations while the spectacles last.

The glasses can be picked up at the Eye Institute campuses at 104 Simpson Street in Greenville, 333 South Pine Street in Spartanburg, and 109 Fleetwood Drive in Easley.

Already have glasses? Read this to be sure yours are safe:

NASA issues warning: You may have a bad pair of eclipse glasses

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