Eclipse 2017: There Goes the Sun (and Here Comes the Solar Retinopathy)

Christina M. Sorenson, OD


August 17, 2017

By now, each of us has seen at least one, if not dozens, of stories on the first complete solar eclipse to cross the United States in the past 99 years.

Safe viewing videos, public service announcements (PSAs), and International Standards Organization (ISO) 12312-2 filters are everywhere. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released several PSAs and has also stressed that consumers purchase viewing devices with an ISO 12312-2 filter from an approved manufacturer.[1]

Additionally, the American Astronomical Society provided an extensive listing of approved solar eclipse viewing products on its website.

Among eye care professionals, we have our very own rock star of eclipse chasers: B. Ralph Chou, OD, MSc. Dr Chou was a distinguished member of the faculty at the University of Waterloo until his retirement in 2012. He participated in the production of informational brochures for NASA and produced videos on photographic techniques to capture eclipse activity. If you are interested in safely photographing the eclipse, watching his video is recommended.

There will be those who tempt fate or who somehow missed the warnings and the multitudes of approved solar viewing glasses available, so a few cases of solar retinopathy could show up in the offices of optometrists and ophthalmologists following the eclipse.


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