TAMPA (FOX 13) - Solar eclipse glasses have been flying off store shelves and out of eye doctors' offices for over a month in anticipation of Monday's once-in-a-lifetime event.
According to eye doctors, staring at the total eclipse of the sun without the proper eye protection can cause permanent damage to the eyes, even if someone stares for only a few seconds.
"Imagine almost like a magnifying glass. The 10-year-old boy that looks at an ant using a magnifying glass. The same effect can happen in your eye," explained Dr. Sam Teske, owner of Eye Doctors of New Tampa. "The issue is called solar retinopathy, where you can actually burn a hole in your retina, and damage the back part of your eye."
Teske said his office has given out more than 1,000 free pairs of solar eclipse glasses. Some patients even lined up before he opened his doors in order to get a pair.
According to doctors, regular sunglasses do not block out enough light to be used as eye protection during a solar eclipse. For those who can't get a pair of eclipse glasses, there is an alternative to the fancy specs.
An empty cereal box can be used as a projection box.
Here's how you can make your own:
-Empty cereal box
-Piece of white paper
Building the eclipse viewer box:
-Trace the bottom of the box on the white piece of paper.
-Cut out the traced rectangle.
-Put the cut-out flat against the bottom of the cereal box.
-On the box top, draw two lines, front to back, a half-inch out from the center of the box.
-Cut off the parts of the box top around the two lines, leaving the center pieces in tact.
-You should now have two openings on either side of the box top.
-Cover the left opening with aluminum foil, securing it with tape.
-Use scissors to punch a half-inch hole in the center of the foil.
During the eclipse, turn your back to the sun and look through the opening on the right side of the box top. A reflection of the eclipse will play out on the paper inside the box.