IT IS NEVER SAFE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.
Do not look at the eclipse without ISO-certified solar filters/eclipse glasses.
MAO and the Manitoba Museum are now completely out of eclipse shades.
We expect that most optometrists' offices have run out by now as well.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun. On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) in North America. In Manitoba, a 70% solar eclipse will be visible, and some areas of the US will experience a total solar eclipse. A total eclipse is the phase when the moon sits directly in front of the sun, and this phase usually lasts only a couple of minutes. In Winnipeg the eclipse will begin at 11:40 am, with maximum eclipse at 12:57 pm, and will end at 2:15 pm.
The only safe way to look directly at the sun is through specialized solar filters; this is true during a partial eclipse or on any regular day when the sun is visible. In anticipation of the August 21 partial eclipse, the Manitoba Association of Optometrists has partnered with the Manitoba Museum to provide special eclipse glasses (your optometrist’s office may have some eclipse shades available while supplies last; eclipse shades can also be purchased at the Manitoba Museum while supplies last). These glasses are Rainbow Symphony Eclipse Shades. Rainbow Symphony is one of only four manufacturers whose solar viewing products are certified to meet the requirement for the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
To safely view the eclipse:
- Because Manitoba will not experience a total eclipse, but only a 70% eclipse, there will be no time when it is safe to view the eclipse without eclipse glasses.
- Before the eclipse, check your eclipse shades carefully. If they are scratched or damaged, they are not safe to use.
- Before looking up at the sun, put on your eclipse shades and don't remove them until after you've looked away.
- Supervise children using eclipse shades to make sure the shades are undamaged, worn correctly, and worn at all times while viewing the sun and partially-eclipsed sun.
- Never look at the sun or partially-eclipsed sun through sunglasses - even if your sunglasses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, they do not protect your eyes adequately when looking directly at the sun.
- Never look at the sun or partially-eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other device. Consult an expert astronomer before using a specialized solar filter on a device.
- Don't use your eclipse shades in conjunction with a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
Vision is precious: protect your eyes and enjoy this memorable experience!
The retina is located at the back of your eye. Its job is to receive images that are brought into focus by the front of the eye and to pass those images along the optic nerve to your brain. Staring at the sun without protection can result in damage to your retina called solar retinopathy. Because there are no pain receptors in the retina, this damage can occur without any sensation of pain and you may not even realize it's happening until it's too late. Visual symptoms may not be noticed for several hours after the damage has been done. Symptoms may include: a blind spot, blurry vision, visual distortion, sore eyes, watery eyes. Damage may be temporary or permanent. Visit your optometrist immediately if an accident happens.
Protecting your eyes from UV radiation every day
An eclipse is an uncommon occurence and a time when we are more conscious of protecting our eyes. It's also important to protect your eyes from the sun every day. Cumulative daily UV exposure can cause conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), pingueculae (small yellowish bumps on the white of the eye), or pterygium (opaque growth over the surface of the cornea).
While everyone needs to protect their eyes from daily UV exposure and when viewing the eclipse, some people are particularly vulnerable to UV damage:
- Children - because they spend more time outdoors than the average adult and because their eyes have less capability to filter UV.
- People who have had cataract surgery - if you've had recent cataract surgery, the new lens that was placed in your eye likely has some UV-absorbing ability. However, older lenses used in cataract surgery provide much less UV protection than an ordinary eyeglass lens.
- People who are taking drugs with photosensitizing side-effects, such as antibiotics with fluoroquinolones and tetracycline, some birth control and estrogen pills, and others.
- People with light-coloured eyes.
Read more about everyday sun exposure on our Your Eyes and the Sun page.