Doctors say not wearing approved eye wear when watching solar eclipse, could cause partial blindness

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Many are excited to catch a view of the solar eclipse that will take place on August 21.  Although, you'll want to do so safely.

"Go look at it, but be safe," said Dr. Tarek Persaud. "There's real danger to looking at the sun directly and some of the danger can be permanent."

Dr. Persaud with the Retina Specialists of North Alabama says it's an important warning. Make sure to wear approved eye wear -- especially for children.

"They're much darker than your regular sunglasses," said Dr. Persaud. "They're going to have a little bit of a tendency to want to look over and look at the sun.  I would watch that, because it doesn't take much radiation from the sun's solar energy to cause a burn in your retina."

He says it can leave portions of your retina with permanent damage.

"It burns a very specific area called your macula," said Persaud. "The macula is in charge of you reading things or seeing faces. So if you get a burn in that area, you'll have a little blind spot in someone's face. If you look at their nose it might be gone, etcetera."

Doctors say the burning can happen in seconds.

"And some of the damage, some people do get over it," said Persaud. "There are about one-third of them that are left with permanent blind spots."