Eye Care

Solar Eclipse Safety

You may have heard about the upcoming solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024. This is a rare natural event and won’t occur again in eastern Canada until 2079!


Image care of the Canadian Space Agency


What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun either entirely or partially. Depending on where you’re viewing the eclipse from, you will see either the entirety of the sun covered up by the moon or part of it. It will also cause the sky to go dark temporarily. See the image above for the Ontario and Atlantic Canadian locations and times for when and where the eclipse can be viewed.



Where will the total eclipse be visible?

Parts of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Southern Ontario will be able to see the full eclipse. The rest of us will get a partial eclipse, weather pending.


What will happen to my eyes if I stare directly at the sun?

You can burn your retina (which is the photosensitive layer at the back of the eye). This is called solar retinopathy.


How can observe the eclipse safely?

You can only observe an eclipse directly with specially designed solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers from reputable vendors.


Solar Eclipse Safety Facts

• Even if your area is getting a partial solar eclipse, you still need to protect your eyes. Our eyes are always at risk of harm during a solar eclipse.

• Contrary to popular belief, solar retinopathy is painless, and the visual damage may not be noticeable immediately.

• Solar retinopathy damage can be permanent.

• Sunglasses (even ones with UV protection) do not provide proper protection needed to prevent solar retinopathy. We recommend getting your solar glasses or viewer from a reputable vendor.

• You can watch a livestream of the eclipse online.

• You can also watch the eclipse by making an inexpensive pinhole camera and watching with your back towards the sun. The video below will show you how:

Thank you to Dr. France Muise, Optometrist for her insight on protecting our vision during an eclipse.

Dr. France Muise, Muise Optometry
405 Sackville Drive, Lower Sackville, NS

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