AHN Ophthalmologists Offer Eye Safety Tips Ahead of the Solar Eclipse

Updated on March 25, 2024

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is offering helpful safety guidelines ahead of the solar eclipse, which will occur on April 8. The Pittsburgh region will experience a partial solar eclipse with 95 percent totality. Those in Erie, Pa. will see the eclipse in the zone of 100 percent totality.

“Although we’re excited to witness a solar eclipse, we want to ensure that our eyes are well-protected from any damage it could cause,” said Sarah Zambotti, OD, optometrist at AHN. “Looking at the sun without protective eclipse glasses supported by the American Astronomical Society could cause solar retinopathy or photokeratitis – retinal injuries caused by a photochemical reaction.”

Dr. Zambotti says that solar eclipse filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard are 100,000 times darker than normal sunglasses and will filter damaging UV rays from the sun to best protect your ocular health. She says these can be purchased at American Paper Optics, Daystar Filters, Rainbow Symphony and Thousand Oaks Optical. 

AHN ophthalmologists also offer the following guidance when preparing to view the solar eclipse:

  • Do not use regular sunglasses to view the eclipse. If you plan to watch the total or partial eclipse, purchase solar glasses that meet the safety requirement of the ISO 12312-2 international standard, supported by the American Astronomical Society. 
  • Do not watch through a phone camera. Watching the eclipse through a cell phone camera, camera lens, binoculars or other recording devices can magnify the UV light and can cause further damage to the retina.
  • Be cautious of children. While children’s eyes are more vulnerable to sun damage, they can still enjoy the eclipse by wearing protective glasses.  
  • Stay inside if you have prior eye conditions. If you have prior macular conditions, sit this one out to avoid further damage and watch videos later!

For patients who experience prolonged redness, watery eyes, eye pain, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light after watching the solar eclipse, Dr. Zambotti recommends contacting your eye doctor to assess for damage of the ocular tissues.

AHN provides comprehensive ophthalmology care for urgent and long-term problems that affect the eye, such an injuries or disease. Specialty care services include orbit and oculoplastics, retina care, and cornea care that is uniquely tailored to each patient’s needs.

To learn more about vision and eye care at AHN, visit www.ahn.org/services/surgery/ophthalmology or call 412-578-5801 to schedule an appointment. 

About the Allegheny Health Network

Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, cardiovascular disease, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes and more. AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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