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Solar Eclipse: Don’t look up without proper eyewear

Optometrists are warning the public not to look at the upcoming partial solar eclipse without the proper eye protection. (WJAR)

Southern New Englanders will witness a partial solar eclipse next Monday, with about 70 percent coverage.

But optometrists warn not to look up without the proper eye protection.

“The longer you stare at the eclipse through the naked eye, the more damage can be done,” said Dr. Steven Kreiger, who practices optometry in Wakefield.

Kreiger cautions that staring at the eclipse with the naked eye could cause permanent damage, including blindness.

“What would happen is the rays of the sun would burn the retina,” Kreiger said.

To avoid the damage and to watch the eclipse safely, you'll need to buy special-purpose solar filters. Sunglasses will not protect you from the sun's rays.

If you're planning on taking a picture of the eclipse, make sure you put a lens over the camera.

“You don't want to look at the eclipse through any optical device, whether it be a camera or binoculars,” Kreiger said. “The rays can come through and cause similar damage to your eye the way that it would if you didn't have any device in front of the eye.”

To protect your eyes during a solar eclipse, doctors recommend looking for eclipse glasses that have an ISO certification on them. Avoid glasses that are more than three years old and that have scratches or damages.

Be sure to test out the glasses before the eclipse to make sure no other light is visible.

Meanwhile, Amazon is warning customers about fake glasses bought on its website. Learn more here.

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