Bulletin de la Société belge d'ophtalmologie vol:272 pages:93-100
On August 11, in Belgium a solar eclipse will occur which will be total in the Southern area of the country. Although the observation of a solar eclipse is an intriguing phenomenon, inappropriate shielding from the sunlight can cause irreversible ocular lesions. Besides good absolute absorption of visible light, a blocking of ultraviolet and infrared light is equally important. In this study, four homemade sun filters were tested: a soot-blackened piece of glass, a black unexposed developed slide film, an audio-CD and a recordable CD-ROM. Also two commercially available filters were investigated: eclipse-shades and mylar foil. The soot-blackened glass and black slide film slip were highly transparent for infrared light, making them dangerous for solar observation. The recordable CD-ROM was too transparent for visible light to serve as solar filter, while the audio-CD tested absorbed enough visible, ultraviolet and infrared light to make it suitable for eclipse viewing. However, many types of audio-CD's are available making it impossible for the observer to know if a given CD is safe to use for solar viewing. Both commercially available solar filters tested had a good absolute visible light absorption, as well as an equally good absorption of ultraviolet and infrared light, making them safe for eclipse observation.