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Commonwealth of Kentucky

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

 

 

Statewide News Release                                                                                         Media Contact: Barbara Fox or Beth Fisher,

                                                                                                                          502-564-6786, ext. 3102 or 3101

 

*Editor’s Note: Video footage related to eclipse eye safety is available here. A video for eclipse eye safety for children is available here. Video footage for an eclipse safety kit is available here. Additional video footage on portable medical tent deployment is available here.

 

 

Public Health Officials Issue Advice for Safe Viewing of Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Follow precautions to avoid permanent eye damage including blindness

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 16, 2017) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is warning the public not to directly look at the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 without the proper equipment and techniques.

 

People from all over the world will converge on the U.S. to witness the eclipse. While the solar eclipse will occur across the continental U.S., those within an estimated 70-mile path labeled "Path of the Total Solar Eclipse” which includes Hopkinsville, Paducah and the Land Between the Lakes will experience a total solar eclipse, lasting up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Outside of this path, observers will witness a deep partial eclipse, which will partially block the sun’s light. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred across any part of the contiguous U.S. was in 1979. Following the 2017 solar eclipse, the next total solar eclipse will not be visible over the continental U.S. until April 8, 2024.

 

"Looking at an eclipse without proper eye protection can cause permanent and irreversible eye damage including blindness”, said Hiram C. Polk, Jr., M.D., commissioner of DPH. "We encourage everyone to enjoy this special celestial event, but urge the public not to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun without special purpose solar filters such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers.”

 

There are several ways to safely view a solar eclipse and avoid permanent eye damage:

 

 

 

 

Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipses glasses or handheld solar viewer. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

 

In addition to eye safety measures, the following additional public health safety tips are recommended for people who participate in outdoor activities while viewing the eclipse:

 

 

 

 

 

State health officials will deploy portable medical tents at an upcoming eclipse event in Hopkinsville to ensure first aid services are available to participants through coordination with local and state agencies. The first aid tents will be staffed by Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers and public health staff. Public health environmentalists will also inspect food vendors in the region to help prevent foodborne and waterborne illnesses.

 

Video footage related to eclipse eye safety is available here. A video for eclipse eye safety for children is available here. Video footage for an eclipse safety kit is available here. Additional video footage on portable medical tent deployment is available here.

 

For more informationon safe viewing of eclipses, please visit http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

 

For more information on the Solar Eclipse Across America go to

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm.

 

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services, the Department for Public Health, and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians. 



The CHFS Office of Communications has produced two short videos to be used in preparation for the upcoming total eclipse on August 21. One features Dr. White discussing eye prevention measures to be used for viewing the total eclipse (before and after) and the other features Dr. Yaffee discussing the eclipse safety kit.

 The videos can be accessed at these links:

 Eclipse Eye Safety:

https://youtu.be/Lb_nYyl4hk0

 

Eclipse Safety Kit:

https://youtu.be/Gj7RtlnDdtI