Technically, the answer depends on how you choose to watch a solar eclipse. If you view a televised image, or a reflected image (such as that produced by an “eclipse box” or similar custom-made viewer), then no, protective glasses are not required. If however you choose to directly witness the natural majesty of a solar eclipse, you absolutely need solar eclipse glasses.
Solar Eclipse Glasses: Should You Wear Them?
The reason is that even brief direct exposure to a solar eclipse can cause temporary or permanent eye damage. One misconception is that this danger is posed solely by the eclipse. The truth is, any direct viewing of direct sunlight is damaging to the eye.
The human eye incorporates lenses to focus light on the retina, the layer of light-sensitive tissue inside the eye. Using the analogy of a camera (which is based on the function of the eye), the lens and cornea focus light on the retina to produce an image just as a camera’s lens focuses light onto film to produce an image. When exposed to the direct rays of the sun, the eye’s lenses focus sunlight into a tight beam, much as a magnifying glass lens will focus sunlight into a beam capable of igniting paper. If this happens, that focus beam will cause permanent damage to the retina.
Under normal conditions, we are dissuaded from accidently damaging our eyes by pain receptors – it hurts to look directly into the sun. When we exit a dark indoor setting into sunlight, or encounter a strong blast of reflected or direct sunlight, we squint, our eyes water, and our iris – the circular opening that controls light entry into the retina – involuntarily closes. These automatic responses are the body’s way of protecting our vision.
During an eclipse it becomes much easier and less painful to look directly at the sun. Yet we are still exposed to its rays, most prominently during the early and late stages of the eclipse. If the entire eclipse process is viewed directly without protection, temporary or permanent retina damage can occur before any pain is felt.
Fortunately, special glasses allow you to directly view a solar eclipse without damaging your eyes. The Solar Eclipse/Welding Glasses at myeyewear2go are perfect for the task. They block over 99% of UV light and 97% of Infrared Radiation. The Green Athermal Shade 14 glass lenses offer complete protection from direct sunlight or the arc of a welder. Just bear in mind that these specialty glasses are far too dark for use as standard sunglasses.
Here are the stats on these glasses:
- Part Number/SKU: WLD-S14-ETG
- Brand: Phillips Safety
- Frame Color: Black
- Lens Color: Green
- Frame Type: Full Frame
- Frame Material: Plastic
- Frame Shape: Wayfarer
These welding/solar eclipse glasses are a safe and convenient option to constructing a homemade and potentially unsafe box viewer. They’re also affordable enough for you to keep a pair on hand to enjoy the occasional solar eclipse.