How Are Texas Ophthalmologists Approaching the April 8 Eclipse?

Texans will experience the total solar eclipse on April 8, and protecting your eyes will be critical.

If you get a chance to see it, make sure to protect your eyes. Looking at the sun without a solar filter, whether through a camera lens or with your bare eyes, can severely damage your eyes and cause vision loss.

Texas ophthalmologists are fielding a number of questions about eye safety related to the eclipse, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides several important tips.

Three Safe Ways to Watch the 2024 Eclipse

Looking directly at the sun during most parts of an eclipse can permanently damage your vision or blind you. The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun is when it is completely covered by the moon during the totality phase of an eclipse. During all other times, you could damage your retina, possibly causing blindness. 

Here are three safe ways to watch the eclipse:

Wear eclipse glasses with certified solar filters

Sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not enough to protect your vision if you look at the sun. Homemade filters are also a bad idea, and will not protect your eyes.

Plan ahead and obtain eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. These products contain a solar filter that must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2. This filter is the only way to truly protect your eyes from the sun's powerful rays.

The American Astronomical Society has a list of companies that supply eclipse glasses and solar viewers. They also have guidance on how to make sure your eclipse glasses are safe and legit.

Make a pinhole viewer to watch the eclipse indirectly

A safer and easier way to see the eclipse is through a pinhole projection or video display.

A pinhole viewer lets you project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement. The image of the sun is safe to look at throughout the eclipse. Learn how to make a pinhole projector or shop for one of these safe-viewing devices.

View a live stream of the eclipse

NASA will have a live stream of the solar eclipse.

Consider watching the eclipse online or find an event at a local planetarium, science center or club where you know the right safety measures have been taken.