Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ophthamologist Dr. Gary Rubin Offers Solar Eclipse Advice, Special Glasses

While the solar eclipse coming later this month is a matter of
scientific interest, people should exercise caution when trying
Dr. Rubin and staff look at the sun, test the glasses.
to see it 
for themselves, a prominent local opthamologist said earlier this week.

Dr. Gary V. Rubin, M.D., who has served Southwest Siders since 1982 from offices in Garfield Ridge, said that he has secured 40 pairs of certified solar eclipse glasses. He will distribute them, free of charge, starting at 11 a.m. Monday, August 14 from his office at 7001 W. Archer.

“I’ve never done it before,” Rubin said. “When’s the last time we had an eclipse? I’m doing this on my own, as a public service.

“It’s the great American hype, and we have to protect your eyes,” Rubin added with a smile.

On Monday, August 21, the entire United States will see a partial eclipse of the sun. Parts of 11 states, from Oregon to South Carolina, including areas of southern Illinois, will experience a total solar eclipse. The total eclipse will extend for a 70-mile-wide swath.

The eclipse will be seen in the Chicago area beginning at 11:54 a.m. and ending at 2:42 p.m. The maximum eclipse will take place from 1:18 until 1:21 p.m., for just 2 1/2 minutes, Rubin said.

One way to protect your eyes is by wearing specially- designed glasses that are certified for that use. Another way to see the eclipse is through a pinhole projection or video display. A pinhole viewer lets a person project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement.

The resulting image of the sun (not the sun itself) is safe to look at throughout the eclipse.

Sunglasses are not safe for eclipse viewing, Rubin added. Do not use a camera, binoculars or a telescope unless they come with and are protected with certified solar eclipse filter. Individuals who get a chance to see the eclipse should make sure to take care of their vision.

One danger people face from looking directly at the sun, during an eclipse or otherwise, is solar retinopathy, Rubin said.

The damage an individual can sustain “depends how long you spent looking at the sun. People can end up with a blind spot or an extended blind spot. There is a high percentage of permanent eye damage,” he said.

Parents who may think their children have incurred damage by looking at the sun should contact their eye care provider to check out their eyes, Rubin said. He expects a few calls

“There is no treatment, and the damage is irreversible,” he added. The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun
is when it is completely blocked by the moon, which will not happen when viewed in Chicago.

Only part of the sun (about 87 percent) will be blocked in Chicago, even at the peak of the eclipse.

“Here in Chicago you cannot take off the [eclipse viewing glasses] at any time during the eclipse because it is not a total eclipse,” Rubin added. “I suggest sharing the eyeglasses because the eclipse doesn’t really change from
one moment to the next.”

He added, “Even if the eclipse occurs on a cloudy day, don’t look directly at the sun.”

Rubin has been serving Garfield Ridge since 1982, always on Archer Avenue. He moved to his current office in 1985, expanding it in 1993. He originally moved into what was a TV repair store.

When he needed more room, he bought the Cape Cod house next door, demolished it and built what is now the reception area.

Rubin, a member of the American Academy of Opathamology, has literally seen generations of patients. Last week, Rubin’s office marked his 40,000th scheduled appointment.

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