For many South Carolinians, this will be a once in a lifetime event – a total solar eclipse will occur in our very own state Aug. 21. In Greenville, beginning at 1:09 p.m., the moon will start to cover the sun, and at 2:38 p.m., will completely cover it – what is known as totality – for 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Assuming the weather cooperates, this fascinating and unique event is a “must see” for both adults and children.

Unfortunately, looking directly at the sun, including during much of the eclipse (with the exception of the 2 minutes, 10 seconds of totality) can permanently damage your eyesight and cause irreversible blindness, even in children. This condition is called solar retinopathy. It is preventable, provided proper eye protection is worn.

Solar eclipse glasses are becoming more difficult to find. If you can find a pair, make sure they are coming from a reputable business. NASA and the American Astronomical Society recommend that eclipse glasses have an International Organization of Standards rating of ISO 12312-2. It is important to note that sunglasses – even ones with very dark lenses – are NOT safe.

Protecting the eyes is definitely important, but also make sure that your family is staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen (click here for tips to make water a fun drink for kids and click here for sunscreen tips).

So, get your solar eclipse glasses/viewers, gather your family and friends on the afternoon of Aug. 21 and enjoy this amazing event!

For further information, please see:

http://www.childrenseyefoundation.org/keep-your-eyes-safe-while-viewing-the-solar-eclipse/

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/safe-solar-eclipse-viewing-infographic

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/how-to-safely-watch-great-american-eclipse-of-2017

https://eclipse.aas.org/eclipse-america/when-where