Safeguarding Your Vision During the April Solar Eclipse: Insights from Illinois Eye Center

As we anticipate the April solar eclipse, Illinois Eye Center is here to guide you through safely experiencing this celestial event. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, temporarily obscuring the sun from our view. While it offers a rare and educational opportunity for sky-watchers, viewing it without proper precautions can lead to serious eye damage, including solar retinopathy. Here are expert tips from our team to ensure you enjoy the eclipse without compromising your vision.

Understanding Solar Retinopathy

Solar retinopathy occurs when the retina, a delicate layer at the back of your eye responsible for capturing images, is damaged by direct sunlight. This condition can cause temporary or permanent visual disturbances. Symptoms might not be immediate, so even if your eyes feel fine during the eclipse, damage could become apparent later.

Safe Viewing Techniques

Use Eclipse Glasses: The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers. Be wary of counterfeit glasses and purchase them from reputable vendors. Regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for looking at the sun. Illinois Eye Center has these glasses available for purchase at each location, while supplies last.

Pinhole Projectors: For those who prefer a DIY approach, pinhole projectors are a safe, indirect viewing technique. They project the image of the sun onto a surface so you can watch the eclipse without looking directly at the sun. Making one can be a fun, educational activity to prepare for the eclipse.

Telescope with a Solar Filter: If you own a telescope, attaching a solar filter to the front of the telescope or binoculars can protect your eyes. However, seek guidance from an expert to ensure the filter is mounted correctly and securely. Never look through a telescope, binoculars, or a camera without a solar filter, as the concentrated solar rays can cause severe eye injury.

Before the Eclipse

Educate Yourself and Family: Share safe viewing practices with friends and family, especially children, who might not understand the risks.

Plan Your Viewing Location: Choose a spot with a clear view of the sky. Check the weather forecast to avoid cloudy areas.

During the Eclipse

Wear Your Eclipse Glasses: Before looking up at the sun, put on your eclipse glasses. Look away from the sun before removing them.

Never Use Optic Devices Without Filters: If using a camera, telescope, or binoculars, ensure they have solar filters.

After the Eclipse

Monitor for Symptoms: If you experience discomfort or visual problems following the eclipse, contact an eye care professional immediately.

Reflect on the Experience: Safely viewing an eclipse can be a memorable experience. Take a moment to reflect and share your experience with others, promoting safe viewing practices for future events.

Final Thoughts from Illinois Eye Center

The upcoming solar eclipse presents a wonderful opportunity to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring displays. By following the safety guidelines outlined above, you can enjoy this celestial event without risking your precious sight. Remember, when it comes to your eyes, prevention is key. Should you have any concerns about your vision, or if you experience any issues after viewing the eclipse, our team of experienced optometrists and ophthalmologists are here to provide comprehensive care. Illinois Eye Center encourages you to embrace this rare occurrence with both excitement and caution, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all!

Memorial Day Holiday Hours

Saturday 5/25 – Peoria Office by Appointment Only
All Other Offices Closed

Monday 5/27 – All Offices Closed

Tuesday 5/28 – Resume Normal Hours at All Locations

Illinois Eye Center is open today, 01/23/2024, at all locations.

Check back here for updates before leaving home, as weather conditions may warrant future changes or closure.

If you prefer to reschedule, due to the weather please click the button below.

Holiday Hours

Saturday, 9/2

Peoria office open by appointment only

(Pekin & Washington are always closed on Saturdays)

Monday, 9/4

All offices closed

Tuesday, 9/5

Peoria & Pekin offices resume normal hours

Note: The Washington office will remain closed for renovations until Monday, Sept 18. 2023