MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The solar eclipse is just one week away, and millions of Americans are gearing up for the spectacle that hasn’t happened in 99 years.
However, there are a few steps everyone should take if they plan on looking at the sun.
Dr. Leonard Hampton says he’s seen the dark side of solar eclipses before.
“Years ago, I actually did see a gentleman, it’s probably been a long time ago, he came in and he’d looked at an eclipse one time and he had damage to the back of his eye," said Dr. Leonard Hampton with Memphis Family Vision.
He says come Monday, you won’t want to look at the sun with anything but approved eyewear.
“You can’t look at this eclipse with your regular sunglasses because it will burn the back of your eyes, the retina.”
The best choice is to wear glasses like ones from American Paper Optics made right here in the Memphis area that have an ISO number on the inside.
Dr. Hampton says they ordered some at Memphis Family Vision that they’ve given away on a donation basis with proceeds benefiting St. Jude.
“We’re going through them so fast we can’t keep up with them.”
It’s recommended to buy straight from an approved manufacturer to ensure vision safety.
“Even with the glasses, they say don’t use them for more than three minutes before you back away and give your eyes a break.”
Amazon recently recalled some solar eclipse viewing glasses deemed unsafe and not recommended by NASA or the American Astronomical Society.
“You can actually just poke a pin hole in a piece of paper and project it over your shoulder to see what the eclipse looks like, but you cannot look at it if you don’t have the certified glasses.”
Dr. Hampton says his office already has a vision for Monday.
“We’re scheduling our lunch that day and we’re going to have the eclipse lunch, and we’re going to go out and buy moon pies and who knows what else for this.”
According to the American Astronomical Society, you should look for glasses from the following approved vendors:
American Paper Optics
Welding filters with shade 12 or higher
Lunt Solar Systems
Thousand Oaks Optical