As many know, the total solar eclipse is coming up soon. On August 21, the moon will be positioned just right to completely cover the sun. However, here in Muscatine County, the eclipse won’t quite pass right over our towns, leaving us with a partial eclipse. That won’t stop many of our locals from traveling a short way to see a unique sight.

A big concern this year is the sale of so-called protective eyewear that won’t actually protect viewers’ eyes. If you choose to purchase eclipse viewers, be sure to buy them only from reputable vendors. A list of vendors can be found at eclipse.aas.org.

There will only be a short period of time in which viewers can safely look at the eclipse without protective eyewear. Many retailers have been selling “eclipse glasses” that are not approved to protect from the sun. Dr. Chris Scholz of Vision Center says, “The only safe way to look directly at the partially eclipsed sun is through special purpose solar filters that meet the international standard.”

Even with special glasses, Dr. Scholz recommends not looking directly at the sun except if you are in a place in which you are able to view the total eclipse. “It is recommended to glance, not stare. This is because the powerful energy of the sun’s rays can cause permanent damage to the macula, similar to the effects of macular degeneration. This damage is irreversible and can cause a person to lose their sharp 20/20 vision,” said Dr. Scholz.

While Muscatine County will not get a great view of the eclipse, we should still be able to see at least a partial eclipse. On a list of ten great places to view the eclipse at greatamericaneclipse.com, the two closest locations are St. Joseph, Missouri, or Carbondale, Illinois.

Dr. Scholz says, “A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.”