If you’re going to be in the path of the total eclipse on August 21st and you want to look at it, then you should make sure you’re wearing the right glasses. If you don’t, you could do permanent damage to your vision.
But don’t reach for your sunglasses to block the harmful rays; they aren’t strong enough to help you shield your eyes from an eclipse.
"They may say UV protection, but they are not going to block out enough light to prevent damage to the retina when you are looking at the sun," explained Dr. Shawn Sorenson, an optometrist at Eagle Vision One in Eagle, ID, a town near the path of the eclipse.
Of course, you can get special eclipse glasses, but you have to make sure you’re getting them from a reputable source. NASA recommends getting glasses from only four U.S. manufacturers.
“You're going to want to look for a pair of glasses with the International Organization for Standardization seal on them and the ISO reference numbers 12312-2. Without those marking, experts warn, you could be putting yourself at risk,” warns KIVI-TV.
That seal is the only way you can know for sure that your eyes are going to be protected from the harmful rays. Also, if the lenses are scratched or wrinkled, don’t do them.
"It really is the only way we can trust that you're getting the full protection you need and so if it's not ISO certified were really telling people you got use them at your own risk," said Dr. Sorenson.
If you’re going to be in a place that’s directly in the path of the eclipse, then you’re safe to take your glasses off to look at it during the totality.
“During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but it's crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses,” advises NASA.
To find out the start and end times of the eclipse, visit NASA's page.
Dr. Sorenson finished his interview with a final warning:
“The best thing right now is prevention if does happen to you there are no current surgeries out there that can correct this.”