Solar eclipse

  • Do not look at the sun.
  • Looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse can cause permanent loss of vision.
  • Children and teens are most vulnerable to solar damage.
  • There is no treatment for damage caused by looking directly at the sun.
  • Indirect viewing is the safest way to view a solar eclipse.

Eye safety

The main hazards to the eye from very intense sunlight are from heat (infrared radiation), ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and from excessive visible light, especially blue light.

Even a momentary glance at the sun can focus a very intense amount of light energy onto the back of the eye (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye – named the retina). Known as solar retinopathy, this damage occurs without pain or warning and the effects of retinal damage may not appear for hours.

UVR can cause 'sunburn' to the outer surface of the eye (cornea).

The least understood risk is from blue light which may also cause damage to the eye.

Children and teens are most at risk of solar damage.


Lions Eye Institute ophthalmologist Dr Hessom Razavi talks about solar eclipse eye safety.

See more videos about eclipse eye safety with Dr Hessom Razavi on WA Health’s Youtube channel.

How to safely view a solar eclipse

Indirect viewing is the safest way to ensure you do not get eye damage.

Pinhole viewer

Use a pin hole viewer to project an image of the sun onto a piece of card or stiff paper, which acts as a screen.

Make your own pinhole viewer (external site) or simple solar observatory (external site).

Live stream

Watch a live stream on TV or online.

Ningaloo solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse will take place just before 11.30am on 20 April 2023 in the Ningaloo region of Western Australia. The eclipse will last for 62 seconds.

A partial solar eclipse may be visible from other parts of Western Australia between 10 am and 2 pm.

How to safely view the solar eclipse

It is important to understand the risks associated and prepare to safely view the eclipse.

The only way to guarantee that you do not get eye damage is by viewing the eclipse indirectly.

Indirect methods include:

  • projecting an image of the sun onto a surface, such as using a pinhole viewer, or
  • watch the live stream from Yagan Square in Perth or online via the Gingin Observatory (external site).

Viewing a full or partial solar eclipse directly, including with the use of visual protection, can cause eye damage or permanent loss of vision.

Travelling to Exmouth

Plan ahead if you’re travelling in Western Australia to experience the total solar eclipse and take precautions to look after your health while you’re on the road and away from home.

Healthcare in Exmouth and surrounding areas

Take note of first aid areas and where to access healthcare in Exmouth and surrounding areas:

  • Coral Bay Nursing Post, 67 Robinson Street, Coral Bay, (08) 9942 6100
  • Exmouth Hospital, Lyon Street, Exmouth, (08) 9949 3666
  • Carnarvon Hospital, 20 Cleaver Street, Carnarvon, (08) 9941 0555
  • Onslow Hospital, Second Avenue, Onslow, (08) 9184 3200

In an emergency, call 000 for an ambulance.

You should go to an emergency department if you have a serious or life-threatening condition.

See other health care options.

Risks of direct viewing of the solar eclipse

The Department of Health and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) (external site) do not recommend direct viewing of the eclipse.

Eclipse glasses

The Department of Health does not recommend viewing an eclipse directly, including using eclipse glasses and equipment with specific solar filters because:

  • their quality cannot be guaranteed
  • they may not block sufficient light
  • they may have scratches, cracks or pin hole defects
  • they frequently do not fit the face well and the gaps enable light to reach the eyes.

If you choose to use solar eclipse glasses in spite of the risks

  • Check that your glasses are marked with and meet ISO-12312-2020 certification.
  • Purchase your solar filters from a reputable retailer to ensure they are not counterfeits.
  • Check your eclipse glasses for damage before use. If they have scratches, tears, cracks or pin holes in the lenses, do not use them. Follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the glasses.
  • Check that your certified eclipse glasses or shades fit the face properly and cover both eyes completely, without letting light in through any gaps. If they don’t, do not use them.
  • If you normally wear prescription glasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses over them.
  • Do not use eclipse glasses with other optical devices, such as a camera lens, telescope or binoculars - the concentrated solar rays will cause serious injury.
  • If you choose to use certified eclipse glasses, place them on before looking at the eclipse and remove them after you have turned away from the eclipse. Do not remove your eclipse glasses while looking at the sun.


  • Supervise children during the eclipse to ensure they do not look directly at the sun.
  • If using eclipse glasses, ensure they fit the child’s face properly and cover both eyes completely, without letting light in through any gaps. If they don’t, do not use them.
  • Ensure children use the glasses correctly and do not look at the sun around the filter.
  • Ensure children do not remove or let the glasses slip or fall off in the excitement.

Cleaning eclipse glasses

  • Manufacturers of hard plastic eclipse glasses often supply a microfibre pouch to wipe the lenses clean. You can also use any soft, nonabrasive tissue or cloth.
  • Not all wet wipes are suitable for cleaning eclipse glasses.
  • Do not use water, glass cleaner, or any other solvents or liquids to clean cardboard eclipse glasses.
  • Keep cardboard eclipse glasses dry. If the cardboard gets wet, it will swell and likely detach from the lenses.

Mobile phones and cameras

Caution should be taken if viewing the eclipse through your mobile device to ensure that you are not looking directly at the sun by mistake, especially as your phone may not cover the sun entirely. There is also a risk of damaging your camera or screen.

Sunglasses, x-ray film and welding shields

Dark sunglasses, exposed x­ray film and welding shields will not provide suitable eye protection.

Where to get help

Last reviewed: 08-03-2023

Sections of this information has previously been produced by ARPANSA and is reproduced with permission from ARPANSA.

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.