Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

When it comes to a total solar eclipse, its important to plan ahead to ensure your eye health and safety during the big event. 


Andrew Reynolds, MD recommends that those planning to watch the total solar eclipse ensure they have the proper eyewear in advance of April 8, 2024 when the total solar eclipse will occur.

While you must be cautious during the event, you can still enjoy this historic moment with the proper safety measures.

What to wear for a total solar eclipse?

Wear solar eclipse glasses that are ISO 12312-2. This is sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015. Both mean that the eyewear is certified to withstand the intense light rays caused by a solar eclipse. 

Is it safe to look at a solar eclipse without this eyewear?

Looking at the solar eclipse without proper eye wear is only safe during the totality, which differs by specific location. 

For instance, the time of totality listed for Buffalo, NY will not be the same for the rest of Western New York. 

Before the event, be sure to check the totality timing for your zip code.

Looking too early or too late without the proper eyewear can cause severe, irreversible eye damage.

To ensure your eye sight remains safe, it's recommended to wear the protective glasses for the entire event.

What kind of eye damage could I get by looking at the solar eclipse without proper eyewear?

The sun's light during a solar eclipse is more intense and a higher strength because it will be partically obscured by the moon. 

If looked at with the naked eye - even fore a few seconds - it can burn a hole through your retina, which will leave you with a permanent black spot in your vision. The damage cannot be reversed.

What if I have prescription sunglasses? Will my eyes be safe?

No, prescription sunglasses will not protect you during the totality. Prescription sunglasses do not have the required ISO certification.

Dr. Reynolds is a pediatric ophthalmologist with UBMD Ophthalmology at the Ross Eye Institute and a clincial associate professor at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.