The moon covers the sun in a solar eclipse.
Getty Images, Pitris

Planning to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse? You Could Go Blind Without These Glasses

Keep your eyes healthy and happy with specialized solar eclipse glasses.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over central Mexico, central and eastern United States, and eastern Canada. Seeing a solar eclipse, like witnessing a meteor shower, is on a lot of people's to-do lists—and with good reason. This incredible phenomenon occurs when the sun, moon, and earth all line up in a row, effectively blocking all sunlight, even during the day.

To witness this astronomical spectacle, you don't need to do much other than be in the right place, at the right time, and have the right weather. A number of U.S. National Parks will have eclipse viewing parties in the states within the path of the total solar eclipse, if you don't want to watch it alone. But you will need one key piece of equipment to safely view this solar phenomenon: specialized solar eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from intense UV radiation. (No, your sunglasses aren't enough.)

While the exact moment of the total solar eclipse is safe to view without glasses with a solar filter, the time leading up to the total solar eclipse and the time after the eclipse are dangerous. Even when the sun is partially covered by the moon, looking directly at it through cameras, binoculars, telescopes, or with the naked eye can instantly cause eye injury, destroying parts of your retina and leaving you with permanent blind spots.

solar eclipse glasses april total solar eclipse

Getty Images, LeoPatrizi

10-Pack Premium Solar Eclipse Glasses - $22.25

So while the April total eclipse is well worth seeing, it's certainly not something worth going blind over. So, before making your eclipse plans, make sure you get a pair of specialized solar eclipse glasses. This eyewear is certified and held to an international standard. The solar filter is 100,000 times stronger than a pair of Ray Bans and blocks nearly all visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light.

Thankfully, these highly specialized glasses are also easy to get a hold of if you know where to look. Many organizations like libraries, observatories, and schools can provide you with them for free. If you'd rather have the convenience of online shopping and plan to view the event at home, Amazon sells eclipse glasses in packs of 10 for you and your eclipse-viewing friends.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Star-Gazing Roadtrips You Should Take This Summer