Dos and don'ts for Monday's solar eclipse

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People will get a chance Monday to witness the first solar eclipse in the country since 1979. In Baton Rouge, the total eclipse will last about three hours.

"Damage can happen in 30 seconds," said Optometrist Dr. Ann Shaw.

Dr. Shaw said looking at the solar eclipse without proper eye protection can cause permanent damage.

Dr. Shaw said on any bright, sunny day, just looking at the sun can damage the eyes. The solar eclipse is much worse.

"If you go outside and look at the sun, it is really bright so you obviously look away from it. During a solar eclipse, it is not bright. There are no pain receptors in the back of the eye to tell you it's doing any damage," said Dr. Shaw.

Meaning there is no warning that you're actually burning your retina and damaging your macula, which is what provides your main central vision.

"What will happen, you will develop a partial scotoma, which is a blurry area in your vision, and that is irreversible," said Dr. Shaw.

According to NASA, in Baton Rouge, the solar eclipse will start around 11:50 a.m. There will not be a total eclipse in Baton Rouge, but around 1:15 p.m., the moon will block most of the sun and the whole eclipse will last about three hours.

It will get darker, which is why Dr. Shaw said the solar eclipse is that much more dangerous.

"The eye is going to dilate so your pupil will be larger so that means more light will get back to the retina," said Dr. Shaw.

She recommended glasses that have the "ISO" somewhere on them. But wearing the glasses does not mean you're in the clear.

Especially for children, they will not cover the whole face meaning they can look up or down with the naked eye and cause damage. It's why she recommends making a box for the children, cutting holes for the eyes and putting the glasses in place of those holes. That way, that box is what the children would look at with their naked eye, not the sun.

"If you are going to let them watch it, they need to have one on one parent supervision, not 10 kids, and one adult," said Dr. Shaw.

Even though it's been 38 years since the last solar eclipse, the next one is in 2024 so if your child is too young, Dr. Shaw recommends waiting seven more years till they're older.

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