New England College of Optometry Issues Safety Advisory for Solar Eclipse

Updated on March 19, 2024

The map below (courtesy of NASA) shows the eclipse’s path of totality.

With the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the New England College of Optometry (NECO) urges the general public to observe this celestial phenomenon safely. Solar eclipses are rare events that spark widespread interest and excitement. To ensure everyone can enjoy the eclipse without risking their vision, NECO is sharing crucial guidelines for proper viewing.

“Solar eclipses present a wonderful opportunity for communities to engage with astronomy, but it’s vital that safety is a priority,” says George Asimellis, PhD, Msc, MBA, Professor of Vision Science at NECO. “Viewing a solar eclipse without appropriate protection can result in solar retinopathy, which can cause lasting damage to the eyes. You must take proper precautions to view the eclipse.”

PLEASE NOTE: NECO recommends that individuals who have recently undergone eye surgery or who have chronic eye conditions should refrain from viewing the eclipse.

To prevent eye injuries and ensure a memorable experience, NECO advises the following:

  1. Always use solar viewing glasses. “When gearing up to watch the magical solar eclipse, it’s important to use specialized solar filters known as ‘eclipse glasses,’” says Alina Reznik, OD, NECO Alumni Liaison. “These viewers adhere to the international safety standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing.” The ISO certification should be visible somewhere on the product. Ordinary sunglasses, even those with UV protection, are NOT safe for looking directly at the sun. They transmit thousands of times too much sunlight to be used for solar viewing.
  2. If you wish to capture the event, do not look at the sun through camera viewfinders or mobile phone cameras, as this can also lead to serious eye damage and can even destroy a mobile phone.
  3. The safest way to view the eclipse is to create a ‘camera obscura’ by finding a piece of cardboard and piercing a small hole in the center. With your back to the sun, hold the cardboard at shoulder height. In your other hand, hold a sheet of paper and align it with the cardboard until you see a tiny image of the sun projected onto the surface of the paper. You can even put cardboard around the “screen” to block out ambient light and see the eclipse image more clearly.

About NECO

New England College of Optometry is a private, nonprofit, internationally recognized optometry school founded in 1894. NECO is a welcoming, professional community that collaborates to inspire change beyond higher education, advancing eye care and making it accessible to all. We prepare eye care providers, educators, and innovators through rigorous curriculum, extensive and diverse clinical experiences, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong network. NECO changes the way people see the world.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.