17 March 2015 Return to news listings
The College of Optometrists is warning people not to look directly at the sun during the solar eclipse on 20 March. The eclipse, which happens when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, will see most of northern Europe, including the UK, plunged into darkness for several minutes on the morning of the 20 March.
Whilst some parts of the world will see a total eclipse, the UK will experience a ‘partial eclipse’, meaning that we won’t quite experience total darkness. Those in Scotland and Northern England are expected to experience the darkest conditions .
Many people may be tempted to look directly at the sun as it disappears from view. However, the College of Optometrists is reminding people of the potential damage they could be doing to their eyes if they don’t protect them properly. Dr Susan Blakeney, the College of Optometrists’ Clinical Adviser, commented: “Witnessing a solar eclipse is a rare and amazing event which we’re sure many people will want to make the most of. We just want to make sure people do so safely, without putting their sight, many people’s most precious sense, at risk. You should never look directly at the sun and that applies when there’s a total or partial eclipse as well. This is because the radiation emitted by the sun is so powerful it may cause a solar burn of the retina.”
By following the College of Optometrists’ advice, members of the public will be able to enjoy this rare event without causing unnecessary harm:
We have produced a patient information sheet for our members to hand out in practice on how to view eclipse safely. Download the information sheet here: