Protect Your Vision: Safeguarding Canadians During the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8

Thursday March 21, 2024

Toronto, ON – March 21, 2024 – On April 8, Canadians will get to experience a total solar eclipse and it’s important to remember the significance of protecting their vision during this event.

We know this is a very exciting time, but the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) wants to make sure Canadians are taking the proper precautions to keep their eyes safe when viewing the eclipse. Even a brief glance at the sun during this time can lead to irreversible eye damage, potentially causing vision loss, also called solar retinopathy.

When watching the solar eclipse, Canadians should take the following eye safety precautions: 

What is solar retinopathy?

Solar retinopathy (also known as eclipse retinopathy) refers to photochemical injury to the macular tissue (central retina). It’s commonly associated with sungazing or eclipse viewing. A short duration of exposure, as little as a few seconds glancing at the sun, can cause solar retinopathy. 

What are some of the symptoms associated with solar retinopathy?

Some of the symptoms associated with solar retinopathy include:

If you are experiencing any symptoms that might indicate damage from viewing the solar eclipse, you should see an eye care professional right away.

How is solar retinopathy treated?

Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for solar retinopathy, and those affected have to wait for it to go away. Your eye doctor may schedule follow-up exams to monitor you for any vision loss.

How long does it take for solar retinopathy to go away?

Most improve on their own over 3-6 months. Unfortunately, vision changes that are still present 6 months after the injury may be permanent. Some people will continue to have permanent distortions and blind spots in their central vision.

 What should you do if you do get direct eye exposure to the eclipse?

The best way to avoid vision loss or injury is prevention. Make sure to wear protective eyewear during an eclipse. If you experience any symptoms of eye damage after accidentally looking directly at the sun, seek immediate treatment from an ophthalmologist/eye care professional. 

To learn more eye health in general, visit  


Additional Resources:

Queen’s University 2024 Total Solar Eclipsefind information and resources to help you safely experience and enjoy this unique astronomical event.

The Dose with Dr. Brian Goldman – interview with COS member Dr. Yi Ning Strube.

Canadian Space AgencyLooking directly at the sun, without appropriate protection, can lead to serious problems such as partial or complete loss of eyesight.

NASA’s Eclipse Exploreran interactive map designed to enhance your eclipse-viewing experience. Crafted to complement our existing static eclipse maps, this tool enables users to dive into this amazing celestial event like never before. 

Eclipse America 2024The solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, will be total in a narrow path from Mexico to Eastern Canada and partial to the northwest and southeast. Yellow curves indicate how much of the Sun is covered by the Moon outside the path of totality. The difference between a total solar eclipse and a partial one is literally the difference between night and day, so get yourself into the path of totality if you can.

About Canadian Ophthalmological Society 

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. The COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit

For media inquiries, contact:  

Bojana Duric, [email protected], BlueSky Communications