Solar Eclipse Requires Safe Viewing

Posted: 8/10/2017

Dr. Timothy Minton, Dr. Kenneth Knudtson and Dr. Ronold Tesch, ophthalmologists at Yorkshire Eye Clinic, show eclipse glasses with specially designed solar filters that allow people to safely view a solar eclipse. Yorkshire Eye Clinic is currently giving away eclipse glasses so area residents can safely view the upcoming Aug. 21 solar eclipse.On Aug. 21, the greater part of North America will experience a solar eclipse, when the moon blocks the sun from Earth’s view. While Brookings will not be in the total eclipse path, our community will still have a pretty good show, experiencing a partial eclipse with .91 magnitude. This means, weather permitting, we will see a majority of the sun’s diameter covered by the moon and experience unnatural darkness in the midday.

The partial eclipse is scheduled to start in Brookings at 11:37 a.m. Maximum coverage will happen at 1 p.m. The total event will be completed by 2:24 p.m., lasting a total of two hours and 47 minutes. While watching a solar eclipse can be a memorable experience, the ophthalmologists at Yorkshire Eye Clinic stress it should be viewed safely so as not to damage your eyes.

“Staring at the sun for even a short time without the right protective eyewear can damage your retina permanently and even cause blindness called solar retinopathy,” said Dr. Timothy Minton.

The safest way to look at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not, is through specially designed solar filters. The solar filters, which must meet the worldwide standard ISO 12312-2, are used in eclipse glasses and hand-held filters.

“People need to remember that ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun,” adds Dr. Kenneth Knudtson.

To safely watch a solar eclipse:

  1. Examine your solar filters or eclipse glasses before using them. If you notice any scratches or damages, do not use them.
  2. Read and follow all directions that come with your glasses or filters.
  3. Before looking at the sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar filters.
  4. After looking at the sun, turn away to remove your filters or glasses. Do not remove them while looking at the sun.

“Make sure to help children to use solar filters and eclipse glasses properly,” said Dr. Ronold Tesch. “Also, never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope or binoculars, even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding solar filters. The intense solar rays coming through the devices will damage your eyes.”

To help our community safely view the Aug. 21 eclipse, Yorkshire Eye Clinic is giving away free eclipse glasses on a first-come, first-serve basis. The glasses are available at the clinic front desk between regular office hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The clinic is located at 2311 Yorkshire Drive.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes the 49-bed Brookings Hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.