Eye doctor suggests watching eclipse through camera may damage lens, not eyes

Looking through a phone's camera lens to the sun won't hurt your eyes, but may damage the phone's digital chip. (KTVL/Mike Marut)

MEDFORD, Ore. (KTVL) - With the eclipse on Monday, the time to get glasses is now. If you can't find them, a last-ditch alternative can be your phone, camera or tablet.

According to Dr. Philip Paden, an ophthalmologist in Medford, says looking through a lens would damage the lens, film or digital chip inside rather than the viewer's eyes.

Viewers can look at the sun through a camera because it's not direct sunlight that a viewer exposes his or her eye to.

"We've all taken pictures with the sun in the picture and our cameras are still fine," Paden said. "You don't want to put it on a stand and hold it still and let the heat have its way with your chip."

Paden emphasized the safest way to watch the eclipse is obviously with appropriate glasses, but those are not the only option.

If you don't have glasses and, understandably, don't want to use your phone or camera, you can make your own using a pinhole in a piece of paper or box and watch the shadow of the moon cross the small ball of light the pinhole creates.

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