Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Looking at solar eclipse without proper equipment could cause eye damage

Published:Monday | August 21, 2017 | 8:00 AM
In this Wednesday, August 2 AP photo, three-year-old Emmalyn Johnson tries on her free pair of eclipse glasses given away at Mauney Memorial Library in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

The Ministry of Health is advising the public to be cautious during the partial solar eclipse that will occur today.

Jamaicans are being urged not to look at the sun during the eclipse as this can cause damage to the retina.

"It is important that persons refrain from looking at the sun during this period as it can cause permanent damage to the eyes," said chief medical officer, Dr Winston De La Haye.

"The only way to look directly at the sun when it is eclipsed or is partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a hand-held solar viewer," added De La Haye.

A solar eclipse is an event where the moon passes between the sun and the earth, casting a shadow, which moves across the surface of the earth.

A partial solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the sun and earth, but the moon only partially covers the sun's disk.

The eclipse is expected to begin sometime after midday and the entire process is to last between two to three hours. However, the time the moon partially blocks the sun is to last for just over two minutes.