Guest Editorial: Preparing for the eclipse

Guest Editorial: Preparing for the eclipse

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Guest Editorial from Dr. Tom Mitchell, Jr., MD:

On Aug. 21, the moon's shadow will block the sun from view in what many are calling "The Great American Eclipse." Wherever you are on Monday, you're going to want to look up to enjoy this rare opportunity.

However, you should never look directly at the sun with your naked eye. Think about focusing on the sun's rays with a magnifying glass. The focusing system of the eye concentrates the light energy in the most sensitive part of the film of our eye, the Macula.  Sun induced damage to the macula can cause blind spots or areas of distortion in the central vision that can be permanent.

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, like eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Eclipse viewing glasses should be labeled with the ISO Rating 12312-2 in order to provide adequate protection. Montgomery and its surrounding areas are outside the path of totality, so you must use a safe solar filter to view the entire solar eclipse on Monday.

It's important to keep an eye on children and make sure they keep their glasses on at all times. If you wear eyeglasses, keep them on and place your eclipse glasses on over them. According to the astronomical society, eclipse glasses that are three years or older were made before the international safety standard was in place and should be discarded. You should also avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical devices.

For more information, you can visit our website at, and click on the total solar eclipse banner.

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