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Monday, May 27, 2024

Marion County Public Health Department offers eclipse safety tips

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Marion Country is in the path of totality during the April 8 eclipse, making Indiana a great viewing location for the event. Many visitors are expected to travel to Indianapolis and other parts of Indiana to take advantage of the view, and the Marion County Public Health Department wants viewers to have fun but stay safe.

“As we anticipate this total eclipse, it is critical to understand what it is and how it can potentially impact our health,” said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Protecting our vision is paramount, along with the ability of first responders to safely navigate roads that are expected to have a significantly increased amount of traffic that could affect normal travel times.”

On April 8, Indianapolis and other areas of the Midwest will be bathed in darkness for a few moments as the moon eclipses the sun in a rare astrological event. (Getty Images)
On April 8, 2024, Indianapolis and other areas of the Midwest will be bathed in darkness for a few moments as the moon eclipses the sun in a rare astrological event. (Getty Images)

Caine has been working with the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety to help local hospitals and health care providers prepare for the event.

To reduce local vehicle traffic, the Marion County Public Health Department’s offices, which include clinics and public walk-in services for birth and death certificates, are closed April 8.

The health department is also offering residents a chance to obtain approved eclipse viewing glasses and eclipse safety information for free at its annual open house April 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 3838 N. Rural St.

The theme of the event is “Prioritizing the Totality of Your Health.” The event is also offering several public health services, including sport physicals, dental health screenings and blood pressure screenings.

To view the eclipse safely and prevent eye injury, here are some do’s and dont’s offered by the Marion County Public Health Department:

DO

  • Use eclipse glasses or solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 standards (sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015), but do not stare continuously at the sun.
  • Take breaks and give your eyes a rest.
  • Look at shadows on the ground, such as beneath a leafy tree, during the partial eclipse to see the crescent sun shadows projected by the spaces between the leaves.

DON’T

  • DO NOT look at the sun directly.
  • DO NOT view through regular sunglasses. No matter how dark glasses are, these will not protect your eyes.
  • DO NOT use damaged eclipse sunglasses or solar viewers. If these are torn, scratched or punctured, do not use the glasses and throw these away. If the filters are coming out of the frames, discard the glasses.
  • DO NOT use homemade filters.
  • DO NOT view through welder’s glass. The glass in most welding helmets is not strong enough.
  • DO NOT view through your camera viewfinder.
  • DO NOT view through a telescope without the proper solar filter. Do not view through a telescope using your eclipse sunglasses.
  • DO NOT view through binoculars.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847.

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