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Local Ophthalmologist Karen Winchesterrecommends you wear only special solar eclipse viewing sunglasses to watch the Aug. 21 full solar eclipse.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking out the sun and casting a shadow on the Earth. On Monday, Aug. 21, that shadow will pass through Oregon, starting at the coast and crossing the entire state all the way to Idaho.

You will be able to see a partial eclipse, where only a portion of the sun is blocked out, if you stay in Portland. To see a total eclipse, where the sun is completely blocked by the moon, you will need to head south to Woodburn, McMinnville or beyond.

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special solar filters. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Safe solar eclipse eyeglasses are a hundred times darker than sunglasses. It is important that you use solar filter glasses that have been certified as meeting international standards for safe solar viewing.

Once you are ready to use your glasses, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter glasses — do not remove them while looking at the sun.

If you are within the path of the total eclipse, remove your solar filter glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun's bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality; then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewing glasses to glance at the remaining partial phases.

You should not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device, even while using your eclipse glasses — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eyes causing serious injury.

A solar eclipse is one of nature's grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.

If you want to find certified eclipse viewing glasses locally, please feel free to stop by Eye Care Northwest at 7724 S.W. 31st Ave. and Capitol Highway. We are located in the Meals On Wheels Building in Multnomah Village across the street from the Multnomah Arts Center. We are offering certified safe Oregon Commemorative Eclipse Glasses for two dollars each.

Karen Winchester, M.D., is a board-certified ophthalmologist at Eye Care Northwest and Southwest 31st Avenue.

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