What can happen if you look directly at the solar eclipse

At the maximum 65 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon

Tens of thousands of Americans will be traveling to view next week's solar eclipse, and communities along its path are getting ready.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)  – We are now one week away from the solar eclipse!  22News is working for you with a warning to not look directly at the eclipse.

Here in western Massachusetts the eclipse starts at 1:25 p.m. in the afternoon, and ends at 2:44 p.m. At the maximum, 65 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon.

On Monday, August 21, many of us will witness a rare phenomenon. Here in western Massachusetts you will only be able to see a “partial” solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun.

You should not look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection. You need glasses that are labeled “ISO certified.” Some glasses being sold over the internet that are fake.

22News talked with Eye Care West in West Springfield who said you won’t notice the damage right away but you will notice the damage over time. That damage could be blindness.

If you look directly at the sun, there can be immediate damage. The longer you look, the more damage will occur.

Paul Boucher, Optometrist at Eye Care West, told 22News, “Its not so much the ultraviolet light its the infrared light that damages the retina, the back inside of the eyeball, that gets cooks your eyes, but both the ultraviolet but more so infrared.”

Even though it may be tempting, don’t even “peek” at the solar eclipse without proper eye-protection. You cannot look through a window, and regular sunglasses do not provide the protection you need.

If you want to purchase the proper eye protection for the solar eclipse: click here