Appropriate Precautions Encouraged During Solar Eclipse

On April 8, Central Indiana will experience a total solar eclipse, the first in nearly 1,200 years in this part of the state. During an eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. This solar occurrence will cause the sky to darken across the “path of totality," the period when the moon covers the sun completely resulting in Central Indiana imitating the usual dawn or dusk.

Eskenazi Health strongly encourages safety and for everyone to take proper precautions while viewing and experiencing the total solar eclipse. Directly viewing the sun during this time can prove to be very damaging to one’s eyes.

Viewing the solar eclipse without proper precautions could be dangerous to the retina, the part of the eye that senses light, which can possibly cause permanent vision damage and/or vision loss.

“There is no immediate treatment for injury to the retina from looking at the sun, especially caused by the eclipse,” said Tyler Stepsis, M.D., medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “Retinal damage wouldn’t likely start to become noticeable until 24 to 48 hours after exposure from the eclipse.”

Eskenazi Health recommends everyone viewing the eclipse utilize eye protection with special filters, containing a thin layer of chromium alloy or aluminum on the lens to reduce the intensity of the light and reduce solar injury. Protective eclipse glasses must meet a certain standard and be certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 12312-2. The following are not considered safe for looking at the sun: color film; black-and-white film that contains no silver; photographic negatives such as X-ray film; smoked glasses; standard sunglasses; polarizing filters; or neutral density films.

“If you notice retinal damage from the eclipse, it is best to visit your eye specialist to discuss treatment options, as they will be better equipped to handle solar-related injuries than your local emergency department,” said Chi-Wah “Rudy” Yung, M.D., chief of ophthalmology services at Eskenazi Health. “Eye damage from viewing the eclipse may even cause a hole in the part of the retina [the macula] where the eye brings objects into sharp focus for reading and recognizing people’s faces. Please do not take unnecessary risks with your eyesight and only view this event with appropriate safety precautions in place.”

In addition to protecting your eyes, there will also be a large influx of people traveling to the area wanting to experience the eclipse. Eskenazi Health encourages everyone to prepare for the potential of additional traffic and potential loss of cellular signals.

Eskenazi Health has established a planning team has been meeting with department leaders and local and state partners in preparation for the eclipse. To ensure patient safety, Eskenazi Health will operate under a modified schedule for outpatient services. All Eskenazi Health Center primary care and Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center outpatient locations will be closed on Monday, April 8. Inpatient and acute care hospital and emergency department services will continue as usual.

The total solar eclipse that occurred in 2017 saw millions of people traveling to cities located along the path of totality. Because of this, local officials expect a strain on resources around the city including overloaded cell towers and challenged radio traffic, increased or gridlocked interstate traffic, compromised emergency services, strain on resources and supply chain including low supply at gas stations and grocery stores, and potential mass gathering issues. The impact this event will have on traffic should not be underestimated, as experts estimate that a drive during this time that would normally take two hours could take upwards of 10 hours.

For more information regarding the solar eclipse affecting Indiana areas, please visit Indiana’s official eclipse website DHS: Total Solar Eclipse 2024: Home (, or the American Optometric Association Solar Eclipses and Eye Safety (

For a list of Eskenazi Health closures on Monday, April 8, please click here.

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