AOP solar eclipse advice

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has issued advice for safe viewing of this week’s solar eclipse. Friday morning (March 20) will see the most spectacular eclipse of the sun for 15 years, in a rare astronomical alignment as the Moon will pass directly between the sun and the Earth, blocking out most of the light. Viewers in the UK will witness a partial eclipse of at least 80%, depending upon location.

Don’t lose sight of your eyes during the eclipse

  1. Never look directly at the sun or use any instruments like binoculars, telescopes or cameras to view the sun directly. Doing so can permanently damage your eyesight
  2. The only safe way to view the eclipse is indirectly, through a device such as a pinhole projector. This cheap and easy method projects the sun’s image onto a screen, such as a sheet of white paper or cardboard
  3. Never point an unprotected camera lens at the sun as this can cause permanent damage to the camera and to your eyes. To take photos of the sun without damaging your camera, you will need to use a solar filter recommended by your camera manufacturer.

Karen Sparrow, Head of Professional Development at the AOP, adds: “It’s important for the public not to lose sight of their eyes during Friday’s eclipse. Looking at the sun directly can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. You only have to look at how a camera works to see the impact. Without the correct filter, pointing a camera at the eclipse can damage the electronics – so just imagine what it can do to your eyes. The only safe way to photograph the sun is by using an appropriate filter. The only safe way to view the sun is indirectly and perhaps the best way to get a good view is to watch it on television.” 

For more information, watch Optometry Today’s interview with Karen Sparrow and the news update in this week’s edition.


For more information, please contact Anne Grenyer, PR and Media Manager at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

Formed in 1946, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the only organisation that represents both optometry as a profession and the views of individual optometrists. Its core  purpose is to provide unrivalled support enabling professionals to deliver high quality eyecare with confidence. With over 15,500 members, the AOP represents and promotes the interests of its members to stakeholders in the UK and Europe. As a founding member of the Optical Confederation, the AOP works closely with other optical bodies to lobby national decision makers on issues related to the eye health agenda.