SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - The first total solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1979 will take place on Monday, Aug. 21 from roughly 1:20 p.m. until about 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Safety is extremely important for all eclipse viewers. Dr. Marla Mackey of North Jersey Eye Care (350 Park Ave., Scotch Plains) warns not to look directly at the sun.
"Low energy radiation passes through the eye and onto the retina which can cause solar retinopathy, which can cost people their visual acuity or permanent vision loss," says Dr. Mackey. "When ready to view the eclipse stand with back facing sun, put on appropriate glasses and then face the sun. Do not remove glasses until you have faced away from eclipse."
Dr. Mackey recommends using eclipse glasses that meet ISO 12312-2. The specialized glasses block dangerous infrared and ultraviolet rays.
Another way to protect the eyes is to build a pinhole projector. Here's how: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-make-a-pinhole-projector-to-view-the-eclipse.
Dr. Kathy Shin of the newly opened Fanwood Eye Care on South Ave. (across from the train station), advises checking out your viewing glasses. Be aware that unsafe eclipse glasses bearing the ISO and certification logos are being sold. The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable manufacturers and authorized dealers.
"Keep in mind that the ISO standard wasn’t put into place until 3 years ago, so reusing old eclipse glasses may not be a good idea," said Dr. Shin. "If you plan on watching the eclipse though a camera, telescope, or binoculars, buy a solar filter to place over the end of the lens."
Lastly, Visit your local eye doctor if you experience any discomfort or decreased vision after viewing the eclipse.