Media Contacts

Elizabeth Neff

Associate Director, PR & Communications, Moran Eye Center
Phone: 801-585-3730

Aug 01, 2017 1:23 PM

For some, the upcoming solar eclipse might be seen as a chance to ignore mom’s advice to never look directly into the sun.

But experts at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah warn onlookers not to be tempted, and they’re giving away 1,000 pairs of protective eyewear to help.

Looking at any part of the sun showing during the Aug. 21 eclipse can cause eye damage known as solar retinopathy, explains Moran ophthalmologist Jeff Pettey, MD.

“Solar retinopathy can cause vision loss and blind spots that can be long term or even permanent,” says Pettey. “The same risk you would have looking at the sun on a normal day exists during an eclipse. You might not feel any pain as the damage is being done, but vision loss can show up hours later.”

How does it happen?

Indirect sunlight enters the eye through the pupil and is focused by the lens onto the retina in the back of the eye with no problem. But focusing the lens of your eye directly on the sun’s intense ultraviolet and infrared light for an extended period of time can destroy the retina’s photoreceptors — rods and cones that are sensitive to light and dark.

It’s critical for anyone viewing the eclipse to protect their eyesight with glasses specifically designed and certified for eclipse viewing—or #14 welder’s glasses.

“Unfortunately, everyday sunglasses won’t provide adequate protection,” says Pettey. “They just don’t block out the damaging rays.”

While eclipse glasses protect the naked eye, they do not protect viewers looking through a telescope, binocular, or camera.

Starting Friday pick up a pair of free eclipse glasses (two per family, while supplies last) at nine Moran optical shop locations between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.:

Farmington, 165 N. University Ave., Farmington

Midvalley, 243 East 6100 South, Murray

Parkway, 145 W. University Parkway, Orem

Primary Children’s, 3741 West 12600 South, Riverton

Redstone, 1743 W. Redstone Center Dr., Park City

Redwood, 1525 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City

South Jordan, 5126 W. Daybreak Parkway, South Jordan

Stansbury, 220 Millpond Rd., Stansbury Park

University, 65 Mario Capecchi Dr., Salt Lake City

Follow the Moran Eye Center on social media, @MoranEyeCenter on Twitter or, to stay posted on how many pairs are left at each location.

Moran is offering additional pairs of protective eyewear for $1.50 each.