Ch. 6 - March 29, 2024 5:39 am

FILE: TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 21: Annular Solar Eclipse is observed on May 21, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time in 25 years since last annular solar eclipse was observed in Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

The solar eclipse is now less than two weeks away. There are steps you can take now to make sure you can observe the event safely.

Viewing a solar eclipse can be fun. But Dr. Amy Cheatham said if you don’t protect your eyes, you can suffer from eclipse blindness or solar retinopathy.

Related Story: What To Know About The 2024 Solar Eclipse In Oklahoma

This can damage the cells in the retina, leading to either temporary or permanent damage. Some people may experience the effects just a few hours or days later, with or without experiencing pain.

The short-term effects of eye damage include blurry vision or changes in color, while long-term damage could lead to decreased vision.

“Later in life, some of my patients have had problems with their eyes. And they recall a time going outside in elementary school looking at the eclipse or the sun. I’ve also seen solar retinopathy and it’s like a vivid image of the eclipse,” Dr. Cheatham said.

If you still have eclipse glasses from the last event in 2017, it’s important to check them for any defects or tears before using them again.

To ensure your safety, it’s crucial to check that your glasses meet ISO standards.

“Be careful. Don’t use your smart phone camera or any binoculars that are not approved, or even with your glasses on through binoculars or telescopes. They need to be special binoculars or telescopes,” Dr. Cheatham said.

It’s also important to be aware that many people may be selling fake glasses. Both NASA and the American Astronomy Association have a list of trusted eclipse glasses manufactures.

When is the 2024 solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of Oklahoma on April 8, 2024. Southeastern parts of the state have been preparing for an influx of people as thousands are expected to travel to view the eclipse in totality. This eclipse will be the last total solar eclipse in the United States until 2044.

Where can you view the eclipse in totality in Oklahoma?

While all of Oklahoma will be able to see a partial eclipse, some parts of the state will have a total view of the event.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said the path of totality will completely cover McCurtain County, and partially cover Choctaw, Bryan, Atoka, Pushmataha, Latimer, and LeFlore Counties. [1]

The town with the longest total eclipse viewing time will be Shults, Oklahoma, approximately 3 miles east of Idabel, with 4 minutes and 19 seconds of viewing time, according to OEM and eclipse2024.org. [2]

The eclipse will pass over Oklahoma starting at 1:44 p.m. CDT and end by 1:51 p.m. CDT on April 8, 2024, OEM said.

How can you safely watch the eclipse?

Whether you are traveling to the path of totality or staying local, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place for viewing the eclipse safely.

Make sure you use eclipse glasses, because sunglasses will not protect your eyes. Eclipse glasses have a solar filter built into them, giving our eyes protection from the damaging rays of the sun.

Related Story: Eye And Camera Protection: Safety Reminders Ahead Of Eclipse Viewing

One doctor said there is one small window of time, only in the path of totality, that you can view the sky without eclipse glasses and face minimal eye damage.

“At the time of total darkness, you do have a few minutes where you can take off your glasses and safely view. But as soon as any light starts to peak out, that’s when you want to put those glasses back out,” said Dr. Laura Cavadini, an Ophthalmologist.

It’s also important to remember items with lenses can be damaged by looking directly at the eclipse. That includes phones, cameras, and of course, your eyes. You can take care of your lenses by getting special glasses and solar filters for your cameras and phone.

Special glasses can be found at Discovery Lab in Tulsa, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Walmart, and several retailers online. But experts said to make sure the glasses are ISO certified to protect your eyes.

Departments in Oklahoma are also emphasizing the importance of safe driving during this major event. With thousands of tourists expected, roads and highways will be especially busy leading up to and during the eclipse.

The major highways in the area are US-70, US-259, and State Highway 3, according to OEM. These roads are mostly two-lane highways passing through small towns, OEM said.

CLICK HERE for more information from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.



What happens during an eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the Sun, the Moon, and Earth either partially or fully line up. [3]

When the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun, a shadow casts on earth. It only occurs sometimes because the Moon’s orbit differs from the Sun and Earth’s planes.

Those who live in the center of the Moon’s shadow when it hits Earth will experience a total eclipse where the sky turns dark as if it were dawn or dusk, NASA said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about solar eclipses and how they work.

Sources Used For This Article

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

[1] 2024 Solar Eclipse


[2] Safe Observation of the Total Solar Eclipse


[3] 2024 Total Eclipse


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