April 14, 2024

Brighton Journal

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North Texas doctors want you to protect your eyes, 'Don't underestimate the risks'

North Texas doctors want you to protect your eyes, 'Don't underestimate the risks'

North Texas – On Monday, the sun will disappear in North Texas at midday. Another total solar eclipse will not occur for another 300 years.

“We'll be watching in the courtyard of our office building, and then we'll be outside waiting for it to happen,” Corinna Esteban says.

“I'll be out there like the fields of Waco,” shares Stephanie Cortez.

So, while you're choosing your spot, experts remind us to be safe, too, and protect your eyes.

“The sun will burn the back of your eyes,” explains Dr. Augustin Gonzalez, chief ophthalmologist at Parkland Health. “It will cause permanent damage. And when I say permanent damage, this is something that cannot be fixed with glasses, medications, vitamins or surgeries. This is permanent damage.”

Dr. Gonzalez says he's troubled by research he's seen recently that suggests as many as a third of people living in the eclipse's path don't know how to view it safely.

Beware of fake eclipse glasses, and don't just use regular glasses or sunglasses to watch the eclipse.

“Yes, I'll get those shoes from Warby Parker,” Cortez shares as she shows off her free pair. Eye Glass locations in North Texas are offering customers free eclipse glasses while supplies last.

“And you can actually test it now when the sun is coming up… Obviously you're not continuing to stare at the sun with the naked eye. But if you put these on and look at the sun, you'll see, like, 'a little orange light.' “Yes, it's like a little circle,” Cortez said.

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Dr. Gonzalez says you should wear glasses whenever you look at the sun, including during a total eclipse.

“Sure. Even when it's a total eclipse on the ship, where you can only see the corona, what they call the sun's corona, that's enough light energy to cause permanent damage to the eyes.”

According to NASA, it is safe to remove glasses to experience darkness during a total eclipse. Just don't look directly at the sun.

Dr. Gonzalez says it's important to share this safety message with family and friends, and to be especially attentive to children who may be tempted to take a peak.

“It's not about creating fear,” Dr. Gonzalez explains. “It's about educating people to safely enjoy this beautiful event that will happen on Monday.”