BHealthy Blog

How To Safely View The Total Solar Eclipse

By Christian Hester, MD
Baptist Health Eye & Surgery Center

Anticipation is building around the total solar eclipse set to cross North America, including a large swath of Arkansas, on Monday, April 8. So, what should you know in order to protect yourself and loved ones eager to watch the spectacle?

The path of totality will stretch across more than 100 miles in Arkansas – from southwest to northeast – including cities such as Little Rock, North Little Rock, Russellville, Hot Springs, Texarkana, Conway and Jonesboro. Some cities will experience over four minutes of total darkness.

When viewing the total solar eclipse, it’s important to remember these safety guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Arkansas Department of Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):

For Your Eyes

  • Before and after totality – when the Moon completely blocks the Sun – view the Sun through eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer to shield yourself from the Sun’s harmful rays. It is not safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection.
  • Do not use eclipse glasses or handheld viewers with cameras, binoculars or telescopes. The concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.
  • Do not wear ordinary or polarized sunglasses. They are not strong enough to protect your eyes.
  • As soon as you see even a little amount of bright sunlight reappear after totality, immediately put on your eclipse glasses or use a handheld solar viewer.
  • Before using them, always read and follow all directions that come with eclipse or solar filter glasses. 
  • Keep an eye on children to make sure they use eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers correctly.

For Your Skin

If you plan on staying for the eclipse in its entirety, you likely will be outside in the sunlight for an extended period of time and can become susceptible to sunburn, skin aging or even skin cancer. You can reduce your risk by:

  • Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun
  • Using broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher regularly and as directed

For Your Overall Health

  • Be mindful of your travel, as additional visitors are expected to make their way to Arkansas for the special event. Prepare for potential delays, especially on main thoroughfares. Consider alternate routes and allow extra time to reach your destination. Stay informed about traffic conditions through local news or by visiting the IDrive Arkansas website,
  • Keep an eye on the weather, including forecasted temperatures and an anticipated drop in temperature as the eclipse passes through the state. Dress accordingly. View the latest weather forecast at
  • Don’t forget your pets and animals. It may be best to keep them on leashes or in kennels during the eclipse to prevent distress or disorientation.
  • Be prepared for a potential delay in services, including emergency services, as a result of increased visitors. 

To learn more about the total solar eclipse in Arkansas, visit, then click the “Experience the Eclipse” icon.