How not to fry your eyes during the eclipse! FAQ Eclipse 2017


I have been receiving a lot of calls, texts, pm’s etc. about the eclipse coming up this week, and at first I planned to not get involved. This is a hot topic and after multiple calls, emails, etc., I decided to answer a few of the most asked questions. What’s the best way to view the eclipse?  Will the glasses from my dilation work?  Can I use my welder’s helmet?  I’ve decided to try to answer most of the questions I’ve been asked and help others make the best informed decision for themselves.  First and foremost I think it’s important to remember to be smart about the decisions made Monday because our decisions and actions can affect the rest of our lives.  So…… A good rule of thumb is — Don’t be dumb.  Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions I have received and my somewhat educated and perhaps a bit snarky answers.

  1. Can I wear my regular sunglasses during the eclipse?
    • Umm no. Can you wear your regular sunglasses and stare at the sun on any other day?    I know.  A bit harsh. Let’s think about it though.  Staring at the sun causes a condition called solar retinopathy.  The sun emits rays that we cannot see or feel that basically will “fry” our retina if we look at it.  The brightness and heat are just the precaution to warn us of the impending harm.  When the eclipse begins, the sun’s brightness may not be as intense but the harmful rays that we could never see are still there and just as harmful.  That’s why it’s even more dangerous to look at the sun during the eclipse and everyone is freaking out!!  We wouldn’t know harm had been done until it’s too late.   So….. Let’s not be dumb.
  2. Can I wear those glasses you gave me after my appointment?
    • Umm….. Again no. See answer to question 1 for clarification.
  3. I heard somewhere that I can wear welder’s glasses and be ok. Is that true?
    • Not exactly! The American Astronomical society AAS says that welders glass #12 or higher is sufficient for viewing the eclipse.  So I pulled my hubby’s helmet out of the garage and checked it out.  It took me a good minute and I actually went to the website where he purchased it to double check and it looks like his says variable from 9-13 but it also says it is shade #10.  Everything I’ve read says most welder’s helmets around the house aren’t sufficient so I’m saying better safe than sorry.  So no.   Here is the link.
  4. Are the glasses I bought online, at the gas station, or from the piggly wiggly (ok I made that one up. I don’t know if there still are piggly wiggly’s or if they sell them) ok to use?
    • The eclipse glasses you purchase should meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing. If this is not clearly printed on your glasses then I would not purposely take the chance.  Also the AAS has a list of approved vendors that have met the standard for safe viewing. You can access the list here .
  5. Do I need to wear the glasses all day if I’m outside?
    • Well, have you looked through the glasses or have you read the directions on the glasses? When you look through these babies you will quickly see that wearing them all day is pretty much impossible.  Seriously though, you should be in position before putting on the glasses, take a look at the eclipsing sun through your glasses only, look away, then take the glasses off.
  6. Can I view the eclipse from inside through the window?
    • See answer #1.
  7. If I don’t have eclipse glasses how can I view the eclipse?
  8. What are you going to do during the eclipse?
    • Well, originally I planned to go about my day as normal. With all the hype and questions, and research, I actually bought eclipse glasses from one of the approved sites.  My lunch hour happens to coincide with the eclipse time so, my staff and I will be heading outside and taking a peak through our ISO approved eclipse glasses.  I will not be looking at the sun without my glasses on at any time.  I will also not gaze at the sun through my glasses for an unlimited amount of time.  I plan to get myself situated, put on my eclipse glasses, take a gander, then look away and take the glasses off.  I may repeat this a few times to make sure I see what I want to see but I plan to take my own advice and not be dumb!  I hope everyone has a great eclipse experience Monday and if for any reason you find yourself worried that you may have injured your eyes, give your local optometrist a call and I promise I will not say I told you so!  Happy eclipsing!!