AUSTIN, Texas - For the first time in 11 years, an annular solar eclipse will be visible from North America, including Central Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 14, creating a ring of fire in the sky.
Dr. Kim Wampler, an optometrist, says she's used to seeing people come into her office after an eclipse. She says it is because people did not protect their eyes when looking at the phenomenon.
"The damage itself happens in the back of the eye, the part right up against your brain on the retina, specifically to the macula," Dr. Wampler said. "Everything that we see in color, everywhere you look that you see color, is focused on the macula. When those are damaged, some of them are repairable, some of them may not be depending on how much damage you get. If they're not repairable, that can lead to permanent central blindness or blind spots in your vision."
Dr. Wampler says eclipse glasses are probably the best and easiest way to protect your eyes and see the action. She says another option is to find a pair of welder's number 14 glasses. Another way involves getting creative.
"You take a piece of cardboard paper, and you put a pinhole in the middle of it," Dr. Wampler said. "You take another piece of paper about 2 to 3 feet away from the pinhole paper. You have the sun on one side, and it will project the image of the eclipse onto the other paper."
She advises against using sunglasses to watch the eclipse because it does not provide enough protection. Also, do not try to use your phone as a barrier because it can be risky. Lastly, she says do not use a camera.
"Don't view the eclipse through the viewfinder of your camera," she said. "Viewing it through the viewfinder, actually, of a camera is just as damaging as viewing the eclipse with the naked eye."
Another eclipse will take place in April.