Optometrists help residents stay healthy while viewing the eclipse

An eclipse of the sun will begin at 9:06 a.m. on Monday, August 21. For residents here in Claremont, this will be a partial eclipse with about 62.60 percent coverage of the sun by the moon.

Optometrists Brad Baggarly and his partner Ann Johannsen want Claremonters to be safe while watching the eclipse.

Residents should not watch this eclipse with their bare eyes. Special glasses with an ISO 12312-2 rating will be needed, and this week Dr. Baggarly gave out 500 disposable sunglasses for free.

Looking at even a partial eclipse can cause eye damage, Dr. Baggarly explained.

“As optometrists, we have seen the damage from looking at the sun,” Dr. Baggarly said. “Some have experienced differing degrees of vision loss or distortion. Some experience UV burns of the cornea, the clear front window of the eye—that would cause some pain minutes later, however, retinal damage may not manifest in symptoms until days later. It doesn’t take long to damage the retina. It is very sensitive and has no pain receptors so those that look at the sun don’t realize until later that they have damaged their eyes.”

Dr. Baggarly said Amazon contacted his office warning that they weren’t certain that the glasses his office purchased were safe. Claremont Optometry, located at 695 W. Foothill Blvd. in Claremont, wanted to be sure so they had their glasses tested.

“We enlisted the help of Harvey Mudd physicist Richard Haskell, PhD,” Dr. Baggarly said. “After spectrographic testing, he certified that they passed all tests and are indeed safe.”

Residents can go online and try to get some before they are sold out. A website to find reputable vendors of the glasses is eclipse.aas.org/resources/ solar-filters. If for some reason you cannot view the eclipse in person, you can watch it on the NASA live stream page, Facebook live and YouTube.

For residents in other states, Monday’s event will be a complete eclipse. The first point of contact, according to NASA.com, will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT, with the full eclipse at 10:16 a.m. States enjoying a full eclipse will be Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

This will be the first time in 99 years that the path of a total solar eclipse will move across the entire US from coast to coast. The last total solar eclipse in the US was in 1979, according to NASA.

The eclipse will be at maximum darkness in Claremont at 10:22 a.m. The eclipse will end at 11:46 a.m. with a total duration of 2 hours, 40 minutes.

NASA Television will air a four-hour show called Eclipse Across America, with live video, along with coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the country.

On Monday, go to nasa.gov/eclipselive where you will be directed to the NASA TV broadcast, which starts at 9 a.m. and will connect with many of the NASA broadcasts distributed across the country.

—Noah Klein


[Editor’s note: Noah Klein, 13, is entering eighth grade at El Roble in a few weeks. In seventh grade, Noah took a 3-D art class with Jessica Spinella, sparking his interest in art and media. He hopes to be accepted in the El Roble yearbook class next year. Noah said he wanted an internship at the COURIER for two reasons: “For the yearbook class next year but also so I can do the newspaper and photography at Claremont High School,” he said. “I like writing a lot, it gives you something to do.” This is Noah’s first story for the COURIER or any newspaper for that matter. When asked if he thought newswriting was difficult, he replied, “I guess, but my bar mitzvah speech was a lot harder.” We may have a future local journalist after all. —KD]


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