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Eclipse of the Sun Can Damage Your Eye


2006-03-15 12:33:44
This article has been read 765 times.

Dr Yakubu Seidu Adams, Eye Specialist, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has warned children to desist from watching the total eclipse of the sun which is to occur on March 29 this year.

He stressed that anyone who tries to watch the eclipse of the sun with the naked eye could become blind or develop serious eye defects.


Dr Adams said in an interview that the eclipse will offer pupils and students a unique opportunity to see a natural phenomenon that illustrates the basic principles of mathematics and science that they are taught in school.

He, however, explained that any person or group of persons who wish to observe this rare occurrence would need a specially designed goggles or sun filters as permanent eye damage could result from looking at the disk of the sun directly, or through a camera viewfinder.

“Children must know that improper viewing of the sun during an eclipse with items like ordinary sun shades, handkerchiefs or covering their eyes with colourful toffee wrappers could cause "eclipse blindness or retinal burns.”

Dr Adams stated that exposure of the retina to intense visible light causes damage to the forea centrails (light-sensitive rod and cone cells).

The light triggers a series of complex chemical reactions within the cells and damage their ability to respond to visual stimulus, and in extreme cases, could destroy them, he added.

The result is a loss of visual function which may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the damage.

When a person looks at the sun repeatedly or for a long time without proper protection for the eyes, the retina could be damaged by the intensity of the heat that literally cooks the exposed tissue, he explained.

Stressing the need to avoid eye damage, he said eye injury occurs without any feeling of pain and the damage would not be seen for at least several hours or weeks after it had occurred.

When that happens, he explained, the child might see parallel lines as crooked lines and that could affect the ability to read effectively.

An eclipse occurs when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are lined up such that either the Earth or the Moon casts its shadow on the other body.

source: graphic

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