Looking at the sun during an eclipse can be tempting but can cause permanent damage to your eyes if you do not take the proper precautions.

Jeff Farnan, owner of The Spec Shoppe in Maryville and Stanberry, stated that that there are misconceptions regarding materials that are safe to use for viewing an eclipse. Individuals who wish to look at the sun during an eclipse should only use ISO-approved solar glasses. All approved glasses will be stamped. 

Looking through normal sunglasses, polarized sunglasses, camera lenses, telescope lenses, a homemade filter or even a welding helmet are all potentially hazadous. None are strong enough to provide enough protection from the sun’s rays which can damage the eyes by burning the retinas. Farnan said it is not safe to even glance at the sun without proper eye protection.

While some individuals who look at the sun may not notice any harm to their vision immediately, they will start to notice the effects within a few days. One of the most common symptoms is seeing black floaters or having blurry vision. Farnan states that the sun damage could be permanent, lasting the rest of an individual’s life.

According to NASA, there are no pain receptors on the retina, meaning you could be suffering severe retina burning without even realizing it is happening.

NASA does state that when there is a complete total eclipse, you can look directly at the sun, because the moon is completely covering the sun and its harmful rays. However, it is not safe to look at a partial eclipse, even if the sun is 99 percent covered.

“Make sure to watch out for small children who may not have glasses on and who may look up to see what is going on. They could get sun damage to their eyes without them or you knowing it happened,” Farnan stated.

The Spec Shoppe donated 1,000 pairs of solar-approved eye glasses to the students of Northeast Nodaway, Jefferson, Stanberry and King City.

Although their shop is out of the glasses, indviduals may still purchase them at Minnie Lane, Hy-Vee and other local establishments including optometry offices.