Protecting your eyes when watching a solar eclipse

A solar eclipse can damage your eyes if you look up at it too long

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- It’s a rare sight: a solar eclipse. We’ll be able to see one again, August 21.

“It’s profound, nature is profound. It happens a few times in our lifespan,” said Michael Slahetka of Greenfield.

A total solar eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the country from the Pacific Northwest through Nebraska, Tennesse and South Carolina. We’ll only have a partial eclipse visible here in western Massachusetts.

“We were learning about the solar eclipse in our science class, so I think I and my students will be very excited about it,” said Cassandra Lacoy of Bernardston.

It’ll start around 1:30 p.m. and will be done by 4 p.m. The best part of the eclipse will be around 2:45 p.m. when 65 percent of the sun will be covered by the shadow of the moon.

During this time, you shouldn’t look directly up at the partial solar eclipse with the naked eye. 22News asked an optometrist in Greenfield why it can be harmful for your eyes.

“The problem with the eclipse is its not as bright, so if you are keeping your eyes wide open, your pupils are dilated, so you are actually getting more UV light into your eyes,” said Dr. Brian Wadman, Optometrist at Vision Source in Greenfield.

Dr. Wadman told 22News partial eclipses can cause more damage to your eyes than a total eclipse because there’s more UV light coming through. He said you’ll need specific darkened glasses to filter out the rays.

Click here to see where you can purchase reputable solar eclipse glasses.