After two years of the total solar eclipse in 2017, today, 2 July 2019, marks the occurrence of yet another total solar eclipse – the first and only one in the year 2019. Likely to last for about four minutes and 33 seconds, most of the solar eclipse will be happening over the South Pacific Ocean.

An eclipse can be described as astronomical event in which an astronomical object is completely or partially obscured temporarily . Usually, it is the stars, planets or the natural satellites which get obscured, either by the shadow of another passing astronomical object or because of the passage of an astronomical body passing between the obscured object and the viewer.

There are two types of eclipses, which can be seen from the earth, namely, the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse, and a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, so the moon blocks the sun either completely or partially, until it passes to complete a rotation .

A solar eclipse can only occur on a new moon day and during this occurrence, certain parts of the earth may lose sunlight for a short while. Consequently, in most traditions, there is a belief that eclipses can harm a person’s health and well-being. So, people are asked to stay indoors and not consume food, etc., until the eclipse passes.

However, scientific studies have pointed out that being exposed during a total solar eclipse does not affect your health in any way. But, looking directly at the sun during the process can severely damage your eyesight .

Impact Of Total Solar Eclipse On Your Eyes

Experts point out that looking directly during a solar eclipse can lead to a condition known as solar retinopathy – which occurs when bright light from the sun during a solar eclipse damages the light-sensing cells in the retina of the eye . Although this condition may be painless, it could still damage your vision in the long run.

The solar radiations emerging from the eclipse are extremely powerful and can easily cause damage to the photoreceptors, which are cells present in the retina, causing permanent damage to your eyesight .

Likewise, the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can be the reason of permanent damage to the outer structure of the eye and the intensity of the sun’s brightness can easily affect the focal point .

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How To Protect Your Eyes During Total Solar Eclipse

1. Use special glasses

Eclipse glasses are specialised glasses that meet the standards set by the ISO (International Standards Organization). These pair of glasses make sure to block the UV rays, infrared and intense visible light emerging from the sun, thus doing a lot of good to the eyes . But care should be taken that the lenses of these glasses do not have any scratches, wrinkles and should not be more than 3 years old. Unfortunately, a large number of eyewear marketed as eclipse glasses are not authentic. So when you order a pair for yourself, make sure it is ISO 12312-2.

2. Avoid optical devices

Looking through the camera, telescopes or any other optical device without proper filters should be completely avoided . The filters should be inserted properly at the front of these devices. Also, even while looking through a device with filters, the specialized glasses should be worn because there are chances that the intensity of the sun’s rays can damage the device’s filter, thus reaching your eyes and permanently damaging them .

3. Use your glasses

For individuals using spectacles, do not remove your glasses but instead, wear the solar glasses over it.

4. Be cautious

While removing your special solar eclipse viewing glasses, be careful and make sure not to expose your eyes to the sun. Remove the specialised glasses while looking away from the sun.

5. Seek expert advice

It is always advised to get proper advice from an expert, as it will help you avoid getting your vision damaged or compromised .

On A Final Note….

Apart from the specialised eyeglasses, you can use projectors and solar filters to view the solar eclipse. However, it is critical that one must be aware that wearing sunglasses will not help protect your eyes during an eclipse . Likewise, regular 3-D glasses, the viewfinder of a camera and telescopes without proper filters must not be used for viewing the total solar eclipse. As per Indian Standard Time, the full eclipse will begin at 11:31 pm on 2 July 2019 and last till 12:52 am on 3 July 2019 .