Pennsylvania man has warning for solar eclipse viewers

James Holt, of Pittston Township, explained what happened to him when he stared at a solar eclipse

- In the 1960s, James Holt, of Pittston Township, was only about 10 years old. He said back then, he was preparing to watch a partial solar eclipse.

WILKES-BARRE-SCRANTON, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – In the 1960s, James Holt, of Pittston Township, was only about 10 years old. He said back then, he was preparing to watch a partial solar eclipse.

“We had heard that if you wanted to see the eclipse you can look through negatives of a picture. Dates me how old I am, but you look through the negatives, get several of them stacked together and you can see it and shouldn’t have a problem,” he said.

Holt was able to view eclipse with no problem.

Years later, though, he said he noticed an issue with his eyesight.

It turns out, he damaged a portion of his retina in his right eye from viewing the eclipse.

“Using both eyes, I don`t have a problem with it at all. Just using the right eye, like I say, looking at small print or something close up, small, it distorts it,” Holt said.

Dr. Heidi Manning is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Misericordia University. She used to work with NASA.

“To have it go on the continental United States is not that common. To have it go all the way across the continent, even less common, and that why this is such a big deal… So many people are able to see it,” she said.

As the eclipse approaches, she wants to warn people about properly protecting their eyes when viewing the eclipse.

She suggests you purchase protective glasses or use a box or another homemade device to view the eclipse without directly looking into the sun.

“Don`t be confused that well 75 percent of the sun is blocked so, it`s not that big of a deal,” she said. “There is still a tremendous amount of light coming and it can cause damage to your eyes in just fractions of a second, so you never want to look directly at the sun.”

Related coverage: 2017 Solar Eclipse

“It is a fascinating thing to look at, but be safe. That`s the main thing is be safe. Don`t ruin your eyes. It is not worth ruining your eyes over,” Holt said.

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