VIDEO: County Health Shares Tips for Eclipse Viewing

Submitted by Justin Gould on Wed, 03/20/2024 - 11:31

MAYVILLE, N.Y. - The Chautauqua County Health Department urges residents to use extreme caution while viewing the eclipse.  In order to prevent severe eye injury, residents are encouraged to be prepared with proper eclipse viewing glasses. 

The total solar eclipse is taking place on April 8th and Chautauqua County is in a perfect location to view it.  The eclipse is predicted to take place in Chautauqua County from approximately 2:04pm to 4:32pm, with totality happening at approximately 3:18pm.   

Spectators can prevent eye damage/injury during an eclipse by wearing certified protective eyewear while looking at the Sun (Eclipse safety glasses: ISO 12312-2 filter).   

“It’s important to know that regular sunglasses are NOT safe for viewing the eclipse,” explains Michael Faulk, Chautauqua County’s Chief Medical Officer.  “Regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun. Safe solar-viewers are thousands of times darker and must comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard in order to ensure your eyes are properly protected.” 

Chautauqua County Government has provided FREE ISO approved solar viewing glasses available for pick up at various locations throughout the county.  Visit CHQGov.com/eclipse for a list of locations. 

Dr. Faulk adds, “Many people may want to get a closer look at the eclipse via a telescope or binoculars, or they may want to take a photo.  It is NOT safe to look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses. ” 

According to NASA, the Sun’s surface is so bright that if you stare at any portion of it, no matter how small, it produces enough light to damage individual retinal cells within the eye. It takes a few seconds for this to happen, but afterward, you will see a spot as big as the solar surface you glimpsed at when you look away from the Sun at some other scenery. Depending on how long you gazed at the Sun and how badly the retinal cells were damaged, this spot will either fade away in time or remain permanent.  

Important points to remember to view the eclipse safely: 

  • DO:  Use special “eclipse glasses” that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.  Some glasses are being sold that are not ISO and are not safe! 

  • DO:  Inspect glasses and viewers before use. If damaged, DO NOT use. 

  • DO:  Supervise children to make sure they are using glasses and viewers correctly. 

  • DO:  If you wear regular glasses, keep them on and place the “eclipse glasses” over your normal glasses.  

  • DO:  Limit viewing the Sun (with eclipse glasses) to  
    3 minutes of continuous use, intermittently for several hours. 

  • DON’T:  Look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. 

  • DON’T:  Use regular sunglasses. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe. Special eclipse glasses and viewers are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses.  

  • DON’T:  Leave children unsupervised.  Make sure they are using glasses and viewers correctly. 

  • DON’T:  Look at the eclipse through a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.  Eclipse glasses do not offer additional protection. 

Residents and visitors can learn about eclipse glasses and special solar filters at the American Astronomical Society’s website https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/eyewear-viewers

The Chautauqua County Health Department and Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services remain committed to ensuring a memorable and safe experience for all and encourages residents to sign up to the NY-Alert system to receive critical information and emergency alerts for Chautauqua County during the Eclipse and at other times throughout the year. NY-Alert contains critical, emergency-related information including instructions and recommendations in real-time by emergency personnel. Residents can sign up at https://alert.ny.gov/.  Visit CHQGov.com/eclipse for updates and a list of locations to pick up FREE ISO certified viewing glasses. 

About Chautauqua County Health Department - The Chautauqua County Health Department is the leading Public Health organization in Chautauqua County dedicated to the support of the community’s health.  The Health Department takes innovative approaches to provide technical assistance to partner organizations, and offers various programs and services in order to help prevent disease, protect the public’s health and promote our community’s overall health and wellness.  For more information visit www.HealthyCHQ.com.  


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