Many Americans will have the chance to take in one of nature's greatest shows on Monday with the solar eclipse across North America.
But with all of the excitement around the astronomical event, it might be easy to overlook the extreme health risks involved with staring at the sun.
Glancing at the sun without proper protection can cause permanent damage. Solar retinopathy is irreversible damage to the retina, creating a blind spot.
The simplest way to protect yourself is by viewing the eclipse through eclipse glasses that have special solar filters that make it safe to look directly at the sun. Consumer Reports recommends ones labeled with the safety code ISO 12312-2, which designates the international standard for solar filters.
There have been cases of counterfeits sold with this code on it, so make sure to buy them from a reputable vendor listed on the American Astronomical Society's website.
Remember, the timing of when the eclipse will happen is dependent on where you live. You can go to NASA's website to get the exact eclipse time in your area. And if you haven't yet purchased a pair of eclipse glasses, don't wait much longer. Supply is dropping, but you can still order them online from a few sellers and get them in time.
For more on eclipse viewing safety and recommended eclipse glasses, check out Consumer Reports.org.