HEALTH ADVICE ON VIEWING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE IN UGANDA
Dear Colleagues, friends and visitors,
On Sunday, 3rd November, 2013 the world will witness one of a very rare eclipse- the Solar Eclipse. Uganda is one of the privileged countries that will witness the total and partial eclipse. As we warm up to enjoy this spectacular maybe once in a lifetime moment, the Ministry of Health has sent out this communication to alert the public of the few likely dangers to health that come along viewing these eclipse.
When a person views this eclipse without wearing the proper protection for the eyes, the radiation from the sun can cause serious damage leading to permanent blindness. The effect of the damage to the eye may be realized several hours later since there is no pain associated with this kind of damage to the eyes.
WHO IS AT RISK? Anybody who will view the solar eclipse with naked eyes is at risk of damaging his/her eyes. Children and young adults aged below 20 years are at greater risk because the lens in their eyes is not able to filter most of the dangerous light.
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO VIEW THE ECLIPSE? It is not advisable to view partial or total solar eclipse without proper protection for the eyes.
WHAT EQUIPMENT CAN FILTER THESE SUN RAYS?
The safest devices to use for protecting the eyes are solar viewers with aluminized polyester.
Though not entirely (100%) safe to use, the following locally available filters may be used to view the eclipse:
· Welders’ glasses
· Pin-hole cameras
· Negatives without images used as double layers
· Pin holes (made by passing a pin through a hard paper or cardboard)
· Black kaveera (polythene bag)
· Compact discs
· Floppy discs
Do not view the eclipse through a mirror or water in a basin because the sun rays will be directly reflected straight into the eye with the same intensity.
The public is warned not to use the following items for viewing the solar eclipse because they do not offer adequate protection from the dangerous radiation that damages the eyes:
· Colour film
· Black-and-white film that contains no silver
· Photographic negatives with images on them
· Smoked glass
· Photographic neutral density filters
· Polarizing filters
· Binoculars and telescopes
Parents, Teachers and the general public are advised to closely supervise children and students and ensure they have some level of protection when viewing the solar eclipse to avoid permanent damage to their eyes