Be careful of filter and sunglasses for solar eclipse

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Antigua & Barbuda will be among various countries around the world, that is expected to experience a partial to total solar eclipse on August 21.
Many residents are gearing up to view the celestial phenomenon using sunshades and solar filter glasses, however, Dr Jillia Bird, a local optometrist is cautioning residents against idea.
“Sunglasses widen your pupil. The pupil dilates behind the dark filter; [so] if you cannot verify the filter on your face your pupil will be large and accepting of damaging radiation,” she said. The optometrist said it is difficult for customers to confirm the authenticity of filter glasses especially on the internet.
“People have no way of confirming that those filters are bona fide [as] the internet is being flooded now with fake filters. Scammers are stamping the international standard organization, certified numbers on fake glasses and passing them off as real,” she said.
Dr Bird, while speaking on OBSERVER AM, said the retina is most likely to be damaged during the viewing as the radiation from the sun will be coming directly into the eyes.
“The back part of the eye is the most important part of your vision. It is what you use to read your text messages, see loved ones or the car in front of you and it is what is likely to be compromised”, she said.
Dr Bird said, residents should be aware of the misconception that the most dangerous part of the eclipse is not when there is totality but while the sun rays are still visible.
“Most people put on their shades last time when the sun was almost completely obscured but that’s the safest part. The part that is dangerous is where crescents of the sun are still visible and the radiation is still entering the eye,” she said.
The optometrist urged parents to keep children indoors and advised that its best to view the eclipse via the media.
The eclipse is predicted to occur approximately 2:21 pm next Monday and will last for over two hours. An eclipse of the sun happens when the new moon moves between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the earth.
The last time locals were treated to a solar eclipse was in 1998.

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