As most of you know a solar eclipse will occur in the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. Although we don’t fall within the “path of totality,” Texarkana will still be experiencing a large portion of coverage during this year’s solar eclipse.

In case you didn’t know, the eclipse will be visible from 11:45AM to 2:44PM with maximum coverage around 1:15PM. It is best to keep in mind that while the sun will mostly be covered by the moon’s shadow, it is still possible to severely damage your eyes while looking at it. HealthCARE Express urges you to not look directly at the solar eclipse, unless, of course, you have proper safety gear.

According to a press release, normal sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the harsh rays coming from the sun while you try to directly watch the eclipse. The best safety measure to take is to buy proper eclipse glasses. These glasses can be found in places such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Lowes for relatively cheap. Number 14 welder’s glass is also strong enough to shield your eyes if you aren’t able to get eclipse glasses. You can also use methods such as pinhole projection to watch the shadow of the moon cross the sun.

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HealthCARE Express also urges you not to view the eclipse indirectly through a camera lens, telescope, or binoculars. Those lenses can concentrate the damaging rays and severely injure your eyes. Even protective eclipse glasses won’t do much to save your eyes if you wear them while looking at the eclipse through a telescope or camera. Be sure to cover your eyes with protective lenses before looking at the sun, and turn completely away from it before removing your protective eyewear. Make sure the lenses of your eclipse glasses aren’t damaged. If they are scratched or punctured, you can still suffer from solar rays. If you wear normal corrective lenses, such as glasses, wear your eclipse glasses on over them.

While not all damage suffered from directly viewing an eclipse will cause blindness, your eyes can still suffer from some heavy damage that can permanently affect the way you can see. If after viewing the solar eclipse you begin to suffer from loss of central vision, distorted vision, or altered color vision, please seek medical help immediately.