Yes, You Do Have to Wear Those Glasses to Look at the Solar Eclipse

With that solar eclipse coming up week after next, a lot of people are asking...is it really necessary to wear those super dorky paper glasses to see the eclipse?

Dr. Amir Mohsenin, an ophthalmologist with UTHealth in Houston says not only yes, but YES!!

"You're looking at what could be permanent eye damage, and unfortunately it will be right in the center of your field of vision, because that's where the light rays will be focused on your retina," Dr. Mohsenin tells News Radio 1200 WOAI.

San Antonio will not be in the path of totality of the eclipse, the first total eclipse of the sun visable in the U.S. in 99 years.  He will see 69% of the sun's fiery disk covered by the moon at shortly after 1 PM on August 21.  The path of totality stretches southeastward across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.

Dr. Mohsenin says staring at a partial eclipse, like what we will see here, is actually even more dangerous

."The partial eclipse in the time when you must wear the glasses," he said.  "That is the time when the solar rays are coming right in, and are not blocked by the moon."

He says, of course, that scammers have already started selling cheap knock off 'eclipse glasses' that don't provide any real protection, so watch out for that.  He says normal sunglasses, even very dark sunglasses, will not prevent you from suffering from permanent and irreversable eye damage if you look straight at the eclipse.

Dr. Mohsenin says there is nothing unique about the ultra violet rays put out during an eclipse.  He says it is always dangerous to look directly at the sun, but normally, we don't do it.

"Most of the time, obviously, we don't look at the sun, but with the eclipse, since its darker, people think it is safe to look at the sun, and that's where we get into trouble," he said.

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