When to see the partial solar eclipse over Hemel Hempstead - and how to stay safe while doing it

Specsavers warns bright-eyed solar eclipsers across Hemel to look after their eyes

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:45 pm

Specsavers is warning stargazers in Hemel Hempstead to protect their eyes tomorrow morning (Thursday) when a rare natural phenomenon of a partial solar eclipse is set to occur.

The partial eclipse will begin in the UK just after 10am and will finish around 12.30pm, up to a third of the Sun will be blocked out for about two hours as the moon passes between it and the Earth, observers will get to see a partial eclipse, meaning the sun will look like a crescent instead of a ring.

The events only occur every one or two years, when the sun and moon are exactly in line with the earth

The image has been used for illustration purposes

While this fascinating occurrence is likely to capture the attention of millions of people, Specsavers clinical services director Giles Edmonds is urging people to take the necessary precautions to care for their eyes.

He said: "Looking at the sun directly, without the appropriate protective eyewear can result in a condition known as solar retinopathy which can cause temporary or permanent visual loss."

Mr Edmonds shares his top tips to help care for the nation’s vision:

> Invest in ‘eclipse glasses’. You should never look at the sun before, during or after an eclipse without protective eyewear. It is not safe to view a solar eclipse through any conventional sunglasses and the safest way to do so is through a pair of ‘eclipse glasses’ with a certified solar filter.

> Don’t look directly at the sun throughout the eclipse. The total eclipse may last only a short period of time, and if you are looking towards the sun as the moon moves away from blocking the sun, you might get a solar burn on your retina which can cause permanent damage to your eyes.

> Put your smartphone down. You might be tempted to capture the moment on your phone but be aware that you could accidentally look at the sun when trying to line up your perfect shot. Likewise, viewing an eclipse through the optical viewfinder of a camera can be just as damaging for the eyes.

> Avoid unsafe filters. No filter is safe to use with any optical device such as a telescope or binoculars so avoid this approach.

The type of eye symptoms that can occur after viewing an eclipse without adequate eye protection includes loss of central vision, distorted vision or altered colour vision.

Mr Edmonds advises people seek treatment from an eye care professional if anyone notices any changes in vision after viewing the eclipse.

He added: "It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realise that some damage has occurred so if in doubt, contact your local Specsavers for advice."