Guide to Viewing the Eclipse Safely

A once in a lifetime event coming to Alexandria and the DC area? How can we resist participating? With the DC area experiencing 81% of the solar eclipse, we're sure you'll want to rush out and experience this amazing natural event. While you should absolutely check out the solar eclipse on August 21st - there are certain precautions you should take to protect your vision and make sure you get see well after the eclipse. Update Tuesday 8/15: We have given out our supply of eclipse viewing glasses. The following brands are available for purchase and are NASA approved glasses. To date four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17. You can find many of these viewers on Amazon

Here's a full list of approved reputable eclipse viewer vendors.

Don't have eclipse glasses and can't get your hands on a pair? Make a pinhole viewer! It's a safe and fun way (especially for the kids) to make your viewer and see the eclipse. Here's a great how-to from Wired.com on how to make your own pinhole viewer.

Eye2eye will be handing out FREE solar eclipse viewing glasses starting Saturday 8/12 while supplies last. Stop in & grab a pair so you can view this magnificent event safely.

Dr. A's Guide to Viewing the Solar Eclipse Safely  1. Solar eclipse glasses or sun viewers must meet safety criteria. If they don't meet safety requirements they could be fake and damaging to your eyes. Wearing just sunglasses to view the eclipse is not safe and you could experience damage to your eyes.

2. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun. To date four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

3. If lenses are damaged, scratched, or torn, DO NOT wear them.

4. Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After glancing at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.

5. Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

6. Damage to your retina is permanent. If you experience retina damage you could have blurry central vision always, no more 20/20. You could also experience a loss of color perception and a lost of your cones located centrally.

Here's a comprehensive safety guide from NASA about how to view the solar eclipse safely.

Source: NASA