Don’t Get Blinded by the Light – Your Guide to Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing


As our region of the country prepares for the awe-inspiring solar eclipse of April 8, it’s crucial to prioritize eye safety during this extraordinary event. Max Schlesinger, MD, a Westchester Medical Center Health Network ophthalmologist and retina specialist, shares essential tips to protect your vision while enjoying the eclipse.

Understanding the Risks

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, momentarily blocking our view of the sun. Even during partial eclipses, the sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Gazing directly at the sun during an eclipse can lead to severe damage to the retina’s cells, resulting in permanent vision loss or even blindness.

Dr. Schlesinger explains, “The eye’s natural defenses—such as blinking and pupil constriction—are compromised during an eclipse due to the sun’s reduced brightness. It’s crucial to avoid direct sun exposure without proper eye protection.”

Safety Measures

While our area will realize a partial eclipse, caution is still necessary. Follow these dos and don’ts to ensure a memorable and safe viewing experience:


  1. Use Certified Solar Eclipse Glasses: Invest in specially designed solar eclipse glasses or viewers that meet international safety standards. These glasses effectively filter out harmful UV rays, allowing you to observe the eclipse safely.
  2. Inspect Your Eclipse Viewers: If you’ve had eclipse viewers for more than three years or notice any scratches, damage, or defects, discard them. Reliable viewers are essential for eye protection.
  3. Spread the Word: Educate your friends, family, and community about the importance of eye safety during the eclipse. Encourage everyone to use proper eye protection.
  4. Keep Your Eclipse Glasses On: Even brief exposure to the sun during the eclipse can harm your eyes. Wear your eclipse glasses consistently to safeguard your vision.


  1. Don’t Stare Directly at the Sun:
    Regardless of the eclipse’s visibility, avoid looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection. The risks are real, and protecting your eyes is paramount.
  2. Avoid Homemade Filters:
    Homemade filters, such as sunglasses or unverified materials, do not provide adequate protection. Stick to certified eclipse glasses or viewers.

Remember, this solar eclipse is a rare and awe-inspiring event. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy it safely without compromising your vision.

WMCHealth is at the forefront of eye care, utilizing the latest therapies, technology, and research to treat complex eye diseases. Our team of ophthalmologists is dedicated to preserving and enhancing vision for all our patients.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a WMCHealth’s Advanced Eye Specialty Services, please visit our website or contact our office directly at 914.313.EYES (3937). Provider locations are located throughout the Hudson Valley.

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with nine hospitals on seven campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 13,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. The Network has Level I (adult and pediatric), Level II and Level III trauma centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, Comprehensive and Primary Stroke Centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, home-care services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State. Today, WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated health care in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit or follow WMCHealth on

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified