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Here's how to protect your eyes during the solar eclipse


Excitement is growing for the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8, but experts warn there is also a safety risk for anyone planning to watch the rare celestial event.

"The sun carries a lot of solar radiation, which can be very damaging to multiple areas of the eye," says Rominder Singh, local optometrist and owner of Georgian Optometry.

Singh says solar radiation can burn your retina, the back lining of your eye.

"Some of the symptoms don't actually show up until hours after the fact. You won't know immediately that you're doing damage to your eye. Unfortunately, some of the effects can be permanent," says Singh.

Singh says the only safe way to look directly at the sun is through specially designed solar filters; adding regular sunglasses isn't safe for viewing.

"I would recommend going to the Ontario Association of Optometrists website; you can trust those vendors there. One thing you can do is, if you have a solar filter, look through it. You should not be able to see lights that you typically see," says Singh.

Eclipse glasses use special filters made of black polymer or aluminized polyester to reduce the intensity of the sunlight.

"You get a solar eclipse once every year and a half or so somewhere on the planet. If you miss this one, there's another one happening in October, but you have to go to the bottom of South America to see that one, so it's rare for an eclipse to come to your house," says CTV News Science and Technology Specialist Dan Riskin.

Riskin says the total eclipse is expected to last about three and a half minutes, depending on where you're watching from.

"Anywhere in Ontario is a great place to see this eclipse because it's going to be magnificent, and it's almost going to be totally covered by the moon for viewers all across this province," says Riskin.

Riskin adds that there will not be another total solar eclipse in Canada for another 20 years and that one is expected to occur in Alberta. Top Stories

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