Safety tips for viewing the April 8 eclipse

An ophthalmologist offers advice on how to safely look at the sun and how to tell if your eclipse glasses are counterfeit.

Media Contact: Chris Talbott - 206-543-7129,

A gentle reminder as the April 8 eclipse approaches: You need protective eyewear to look at the sun.

Dr. Russ Van Gelder, a professor and chair of ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, reminds us that looking at the sun for Just 10 seconds can cause eye damage. And as little as 30 seconds can leave you with a permanent blind spot in the middle of your vision. 

Van Gelder offers helpful tips on how to view the eclipse and how to identify whether your eclipse glasses meet the standard necessary to keep your vision safe.

“If you look straight into the sun, it's about a million billion photons per second that hit the surface of the retina,” Van Gelder said. “In 10 seconds, that's the equivalent energy of dropping a double-A battery on your retina from about a foot up. It's a lot of energy.”

Check out this UW Medicine Newsroom blog post for more information. Download these broadcast-ready soundbites with Van Gelder.


UW Medicine