On Friday 20 March 2015, a partial eclipse of the sun will be visible in France between 9:00 and 12:00 am, depending on the place of observation. Why is looking directly at the sun dangerous and a cause of irreversible damage to the retina? Inserm researchers who are specialists at the Vision Institute (Inserm/CNRS/UPMC) can answer your questions.
The French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) recalls the eye hazards involved in directly observing of the sun. There are two types:
– corneal, keratitis-type lesions, essentially associated with ultraviolet rays, painful but reversible in a few days;
– retinal burn-type lesions associated with the thermal effect of solar radiation and a photochemical effect on the particularly delicate cells of the retina. These lesions can cause permanent damage to the sight.
The French Directorate General of Health recommends that people who want to safely observe the partial eclipse of the sun on 20 March 2015 take proper protective measures for directly observing the sun.