National News

Tips for eclipse safety and avoiding scams

Posted August 21

— Tomorrow millions of people will gather to witness the first solar eclipse in 38 years.

While the excitement is counting for the celestial event, experts have reminded people, especially parents, to make sure kids are safe.

The special glasses needed to watch the eclipse are hard to come by now, but experts said they are absolutely necessary to watch it safely and avoid any eye damage.

The first total eclipse seen in the U.S. in almost 40 years has sparked interest in space like never before, especially among kids.

But experts urge parents to go over safety with their children and practice wearing the protective glasses.

"The sun's rays are strong enough to potentially cause permanent damage to the retina if people stare directly at the sun, and for children, in particular, because they may not understand or be able to fully appreciate those risks," Dr. Russel Van Gelder, spokesperson of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said.

The eclipse will travel almost 2,400 miles on a path from Oregon to South Carolina.

Those not on that 70 mile-wide line will see a partial eclipse.

But experts say to watch out.

"The number one rule for safe eclipse viewing is don't improvise. If you don't know, don't chance it. It's not worth it. You really can damage your eyes," said Dr. Laura Danly, of Griffith Observatory.

When there is such excitement around something, people do take advantage. But unfortunately some take advantage of the event.

Some merchants will try to sell fake eclipse sunglasses.

In order to avoid buying fake ones, be aware of what to look for:

Sunglasses must have special filters

Read NASA's recommendations

Make sure there are no scratches or damage

Read the fine print if ordered online to make sure that they're the right brand

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all