Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024

| Preventative CareHow-ToPatient Education

April 8, 2024 will be a special day for those in Central Indiana, including all the communities served by Schneck. We will be in the path of totality for the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2024. The partial eclipse we experienced in 2017 will pale in comparison to what will take place this spring. According to the American Astronomical Society (AAS), “outside the path of totality nearly all of North America will get a partial solar eclipse. But even at 99%, a partial eclipse pales in comparison to a total one. Within the path, as the Moon covers the last 1% of the Sun's bright face in less than a minute's time, the daylight fades by a factor of up to 1,000! If you weren't expecting that, you might think the world was coming to an end!” Because of this, thousands of people are planning to come to our area, to view the full effect of the last total solar eclipse that will happen in any part of the United States for another 20 years.

View of the 2024 solar eclipse path through the United States

What is a Solar Eclipse?

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks the Sun’s surface “briefly revealing the sun’s outer atmosphere: the shimmering corona, or “crown.” Made of rarefied gas heated to millions of degrees, it shines with a light seen nowhere else. It is hauntingly beautiful and, without doubt, one of the most awesome sights in all of nature,” according to the AAS.

Because so many people want to enjoy the view, Dr. Clifford Brooks, ophthalmologist with Conner Smith Eye Center, wants to make sure we do so safely.

How to View the Eclipse Safely

There are two methods to view the eclipse, indirect and direct. Indirect methods include pinhole projection with a cardboard box and paper or viewing the shadow of the sun and eclipse through a colander or other patterned item. Ideas for indirect methods can be found on the AAS website and NASA website.

To view the eclipse directly, you need to obtain tested and approved eclipse glasses. Dr. Brooks recommends visiting the AAS website at for the approved list of manufacturers and suppliers. “The American Astronomical Society has a task force and they maintain that list very faithfully. That doesn’t mean that there may not be others producing adequate glasses, but the ones on the list have been vetted and approved. You want to make sure and get an approved pair of these glasses to be safe.”

In the eclipse of 2017, there was a flood of counterfeit glasses that were sold on sites like eBay and Amazon, so ensuring you have glasses from a reputable source is extremely important.

Not having proper eclipse glasses can result in Solar Retinopathy. Solar Retinopathy is damage caused to the eye by directly looking at the sun. It can only take a few seconds to cause permanent damage and can result in loss of vision, changes in the way colors are perceived, blurry vision and headaches. The only real treatment for Solar Retinopathy is prevention.

The Only Real Treatment for Solar Retinopathy Is Prevention

Dr. Brooks says his biggest worry about the coming eclipse is children. Be sure to educate your children about eclipse safety and ensure they have proper eyewear for viewing. He also warns adults to use proper eyewear, “Sunglasses are not enough protection for looking at the sun. Eclipse glasses are at least 1000 times darker than sunglasses. Also, be sure to use an approved filter when using a camera or telescope to view the eclipse. Lenses can reflect the light in a way that can multiply the effect of the light and cause more damage.”

The only time it is safe to view the eclipse without protection is during the brief time of totality, when the moon is completely blocking the sun. “But as soon as you see a sliver of the sun peak out from behind the moon, get those eclipse glasses back on,” says Dr. Brooks.

Visit the AAS Website at for More Information

Image showing the span of an eclipse
Doctor Cliff Brooks

About the Author

Clifford W. Brooks MD