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Solar Eclipse October 14 2023

Many years ago we discussed a safe way to view a solar eclipse. 2017 American Eclipse – Tacoma WA | Tacoma Eye at Westgate ( . On October 14, 2023, there is another solar eclipse that may be partially visible for Tacoma, WA (weather permitting).

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon (that travels around the Earth) comes between the Earth (us) and the Sun (the big star that the Earth travels around). For a short while, in certain parts of the earth, a HUGE shadow is cast on the Earth’s surface (moment of totality). During this time the corona of the sun will be visible – this and other phenomena are reported to be an extraordinary sight – to the point that “eclipse chasers” travel around the world to view solar eclipses.

Solar Maculopathy is a complication of directly viewing a solar eclipse and often the damage is PERMANENT. The disease entity has been recognized as far back as ancient Greece. While this disease process is classically associated with sungazing and eclipse viewing, a number of reports have found phototoxicity to occur secondary to laser pointers.

Photochemical retinal injury is believed to be a product of free radical formation. A mechanism of free radical formation has been proposed. First, absorption of light energy by a molecule causes an electron to enter an “excitation state”, with free radical formation being a means by which such an electron can return to the “ground state” energy level. In returning to the “ground state” energy level, an excited state electron splits a bond within another molecule which creates free radicals. Then light energy absorption can cause damage. Plus literal heat can create thermal retina damage.

In a nutshell – Be careful when viewing any solar eclipse, use common sense, and definitely do NOT play with Laser Pointers!! Check out the 2017 blog post!