Children's Hospital Colorado

How to safely view the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024

A solar eclipse like this does not happen often. The last total eclipse that could be seen in the United States was seven years ago and before that, it was 45 years ago. In Colorado, the eclipse will start around 11:30 a.m. and we will see about 65% of the sun covered during the peak time, which will occur around 12:30 p.m.

The eclipse is such a rare occurrence, it’s no wonder a lot of people want to see it – just make sure you view it safely so it doesn’t harm your eyesight. Looking directly at the eclipse can cause lasting damage — that’s why our Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology has provided safety tips for viewing the eclipse and signs and symptoms to look for if you think your eyes might have been damaged.

How do we use the glasses safely?

Make sure you only use ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses. These glasses should come from a trusted vendor like Children’s Hospital Colorado. NASA does not certify glasses and popular retailers may not be able to ensure the glasses are ISO approved.

Only look at the eclipse through ISO-certified glasses. Make sure to turn completely away from the sun before removing the glasses. Watch your children as they use the eclipse glasses to ensure they are not looking above or below the lenses.

Other things to remember about viewing the 2024 solar eclipse

  • Regular sunglasses are not a replacement for eclipse glasses.
  • Looking through a camera or binoculars is not safe.
  • Eclipse glasses are meant to fit over a pair of regular glasses.
  • Some binoculars, telescopes and cameras are OK to use, but they must have a special lens.

What can happen if we don’t wear glasses?

Looking directly at the solar eclipse can damage your eyes and have lasting effects. Eye damage from a solar eclipse can result in:

  • Solar retinopathy: This can lead to loss of central vision and can be permanent. It can take a few hours to a few days after watching the eclipse to notice that damage has occurred.
  • Photokeratitis: This is a sunburn to the front surface of the eye. Photokeratitis can cause pain, blurry vision and sensitivity to light, which can occur 30 minutes to 12 hours after viewing the eclipse.

If you do damage your eyes, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Blind spot in center of vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain to eye

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