Tips for watching the eclipse safely - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Tips for watching the eclipse safely

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WSIL -- In just over four months, thousands of eyes will look to the sky to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse.

"She's from Ohio, my brother was from Pennsylvania, another brother is from Michigan and they're all coming for it," explained Jeanie Huffman of Murphysboro.

Her family contacted her two years ago about staying with her for the eclipse, so she came to the Carbondale Tourism Bureau to get information and eclipse glasses.

"My friend said the other day she was just going to get out her movie glasses, the ones that are 3D, and I said, 'Oh, I think that's not the kind, so you need these. You need the good ones,'" she said.

Dr. Omar Ahmad, ophthalmologist at Marion Eye Center, says "the good ones" will help protect your eyes from sun damage.

"You cannot view a solar eclipse with regular sunglasses alone," Dr. Ahmad explained. "You do have to get special, what we call eclipse glasses, that are specially designed to block out all of the UV light and other harmful radiation effects of the light."

The eclipse should draw huge crowds, and Dr. Ahmad wants those people to take in the views safely.

"Don't lose sight of the fact that it can be a permanent loss of vision, so even if you're having a party-like atmosphere, just remember during that time, just view it safely and not put yourself at risk," he said.

After all, southern Illinois has more for tourists to see, than just what's in the sky.

"Southern Illinois is one of the most beautiful places in the world," Jeanie Huffman said. "They just need to come see it, before, during and after the eclipse."

Which is another good reason to protect your eyes.

Symptoms of sun damage often come with blurry vision. If you don't want to purchase eclipse glasses, you can also make a viewing device out of a cardboard box to avoid looking into the sun altogether.

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