What you need to know about the solar eclipse and eye safety

if you want to take a peek, you'll need to take careful steps to protect your vision.

AUSTIN - We're just a week away from the solar eclipse, but if you want to take a peek you'll need to take careful steps to protect your vision.

A solar eclipse is certainly a rare event but when it comes to viewing it, the same, everyday rules apply.

Don't stare at the sun.

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"That can provide permanent damage and loss of vision similar to people who have macular degeneration and other diseases of the eye," said Dr. Justin Aaker of Reveal Eye Care & Surgery in Georgetown.

He used a magnifying glass and a leaf to demonstrate how your eye could be impacted in just a short amount of time.

"The light is coming in and it's being focused on to the cornea and the lens on to the retina, which is like the film of your eye. And that spot is focused on the retina at such a high intensity -- that's what causes the damage," he said.

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So the proper viewing glasses are crucial. Your everyday polarized sunglasses are not powerful enough. Eclipse glasses should be certified and meet the international standard for ISO 12312-2.

Retailer Amazon is taking steps to make sure their customers stay safe, including staff at Austin's Davis Elementary School.

The online giant sent an email to the school and millions of other customers who bought glasses from vendors who did not provide documentation for their listings, offering refunds.

The American Astronomical Society published this list of approved dealers, manufacturers and national retailers who they say are safe. NASA offers their tips here.

Dr. Aaker warns staring into the sun is always dangerous.

"Most of the time it's not safe and even when you're using protective equipment that is actually good protective equipment, you're putting yourself at risk," he added.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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