WHY WE CANNOT LOOK AT THE SUN
We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds.
Looking at the Sun directly can quickly be very harmful and I understand that doctors can not repair retinas.
When a person looks repeatedly or for a long time at the Sun without proper protection for the eyes, this photochemical retinal damage may be accompanied by a thermal injury - the high level of visible and near-infrared radiation causes heating that literally cooks the exposed tissue. This thermal injury or photocoagulation destroys the rods and cones, creating a small blind area. The danger to vision is significant because photic retinal injuries occur without any feeling of pain (there are no pain receptors in the retina), and the visual effects do not occur for at least several hours after the damage is done [Pitts, 1993].
Snapping a selfie during Friday’s solar eclipse could lead to eye damage, specialists have warned.
Camera phones did not exist during the last eclipse in 1999 but now millions are likely to be tempted to take a photograph of themselves during the rare astronomical alignment later this week.
The College of Optometrists has warned that taking pictures using an iPhone or camera can be as dangerous as looking directly at the Sun, which can burn the retina and cause blindness.
Even wearing sunglasses will not protect eyes against potential damage, and anyone attempting a selfie is advised to wear specialist shades which block out the dangerous rays and prevent solar maculopathy – the destruction of the centre of the retina caused by solar radiation.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, clinical adviser at the College of Optometrists said: “Taking a selfie could potentially put you at risk as you may end up accidentally looking directly at the Sun while aligning yourself and your phone.
"Whilst a solar eclipse is an amazing and infrequent event, the general public must remember that they should not look directly at the Sun or at a solar eclipse, either with the naked eye, even if dark filters such as sunglasses or photographic negatives are used, nor through optical equipment such as cameras, binoculars or telescopes.