Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Kristine Fellizar
February 15, 2018 3:42 pm

In case you didn’t know, there is a partial solar eclipse happening today. Although it isn’t a total solar eclipse and won’t be as easily visible in the United States as the one that occurred back in August 2017, protecting your eyes is still super important. So if you’re trying to catch a glimpse of the sun today, or during any solar eclipse in the future, just know it can cause serious eye damage if you don’t protect yourself.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in between the sun and the earth. That’s what causes the light of the sun to be blocked. During a total solar eclipse, the moon will completely block out the sun’s light, like it did back in August. But when it’s a partial solar eclipse, the moon will only block out a part of the sun’s light. It’s pretty fascinating to see, if you ever get a chance to.

Trying to see a solar eclipse, especially a partial one, requires some planning ahead. According to PreventBlindness.org, partial solar eclipses in particular can be damaging to your eyes if they’re not protected since your eyes will be directly exposed to the sun’s ray.

Without proper eyewear, it’s very possible for you to get retinal burns — also known as “eclipse blindness.” Naked exposure to the sun’s light can damage or even destroy’s the cells in your retina, which is responsible for transmitting what you see to the brain.

The damage can be temporary or permanent. However, it might take a few hours to a few days after the eclipse to know it actually affected you.

That’s why it’s critical that you wear the right kind of protective eyewear. According to Prevent Blindness, trying to look at a solar eclipse through your smartphone or unsafe filters like a simple pair of sunglasses is not the way to do it. Check this list to find a vendor.

If you miss this partial solar eclipse, don’t worry. The next one will occur on July 18, 2018 and again on August 11, 2018. So there’s a ton of time to prep yourself with the right kind of eye protection you need.

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