Eclipse excitement grows in Tampa Bay area, but eye safety is a concern

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Adam Etheredge, of Palm Harbor, is excited about Monday’s eclipse. 

“Don’t want to miss it,” he said.

On Monday, as the eclipse makes its way from northwest to southeast, Etheredge and his wife will join millions of people with their eyes trained to the sky.

“So, we’re actually going to be able to see the moon get right in front of the sun, so it’s going to be pretty amazing,” he said.

Etheredge plans to travel to Highlands, North Carolina to get the full effect. The mountain town is in the path of eclipse totality.

To see it, he plans to wear $2 glasses he bought at Lowe’s.

“We actually ordered from off Amazon and we had some problems getting our glasses off of Amazon. I heard they cancelled some orders,” said Etheredge.

Doctors are warning that looking directly at the sun, or using unapproved glasses can be a big mistake.

“It can cause total blindness,” said Dr. Trey Mainor of AFC Urgent Care.

“I wouldn’t even sneak a peak. No. I would just buy the appropriate safety equipment, even if you’re gonna look just for second,” he said.

Got that? Just a quick glimpse can cause lasting eye damage.

“You necessarily will not feel the damage to the eye because the retina does not have pain receptors,” said Dr. Mainor.

To look safely, look for a marking on your glasses, “ISO 12312-2.” That is your assurance that the glasses will block the harmful rays.

“If you put them on right now and look at any light source, you can’t see anything,” said Etheredge.

As the reporter on this story, I have an admission to make. Back in 1979, I looked at the eclipse without any sun protection.

In the middle of my right eye, I have a cigar-shaped blind spot.

I knew better, but looked anyway!

Follow Peter Bernard on Facebook

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