Experts explain how to view the solar eclipse safely


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - The total solar eclipse is now less than a week away.

If you're going to view it, make sure you do so safely.

It has been almost 40 years since the last total eclipse.

The key to seeing it is doing it safely.

"The dangerous part about the solar eclipse is that when the moon gets in front of the sun, there is still rays that come around," Dr. Gary St. Clair, a Lynchburg optometrist, said.

The ultraviolet rays can cause severe damage.

Dr. St. Clair treated a young boy during the last eclipse who looked at it without any protection.

His retinas looked like "fried eggs sunny side up," St. Clair said.

He says looking at the eclipse can cause people to lose their central vision, and there's no way to fix it.

"They would lose their central vision, it's not lights out blindness but like if I were to look at your face with the scars that this would create, I might see your ears, your chin, but not the detail in the middle," St. Clair said.

So, how do you keep you and your family safe?

First, buy legitimate eclipse glasses.

St. Clair says regular sun glasses won't keep you safe.

Even with the regulation eclipse glasses, officials say you shouldn't look directly at the event.

If you don't want to get the eclipse glasses, you can use the peephole method.

All you need is two pieces of relatively sturdy poster board.

In a smaller piece, cut a circle.

Then lay the other piece on a flat surface to project the eclipse on.

Facing away from the fun, project the image on the poster board.

Since Virginia will only see about 90 percent of the eclipse, you should be able to see an almost completely filled in circle on the larger board.

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