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All eyes on the skies for the total eclipse — but only with the right protection

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MILWAUKEE -- All eyes will be on the sky Monday, August 21st -- weather permitting of course. But doctors warn you must have the appropriate eye wear to view the solar eclipse or the consequences could be severe.

With eclipse viewing glasses in high demand and short supply, you may be tempted to look up on Monday without appropriate protection. Doctor's warn, don't!

"There's a condition called solar retinopathy where you actually get damage to the retina by looking at the sun," said Dr. Judy Hoggatt, Medical College of Wisconsin comprehensive ophthalmologist.

Dr. Judy Hoggatt

Ophthalmologist Judy Hoggatt has seen patients with permanent eye damage.

"Anywhere from shortly after exposure to intense sunlight to a day or two later, you could start noticing some blurred vision to even some blind spots that have developed," said Hoggatt.

Even a fully eclipsed sun is unsafe to look at, if you're outside the path of totality -- which Wisconsin is. And once the retinal cells are damaged, there's not much doctors can do.

"Solar retinopathy can take several weeks to several months to resolve and if the damage is severe enough, it might never resolve," said Hoggatt.

Some have suggested other types of filtered glasses to view the eclipse. Again, Dr. Hoggatt advises against it.

"It's not really recommended to use sunglasses or welding glasses. Really the solar eclipse glasses are the only recommended device to use," said Hoggatt.

With counterfeit eclipse glasses all over the internet, not all glasses that will be used Monday, will be safe. Some fakes are even marked as ISO complaint when in fact they are not. One giveaway? You shouldn't be able to see anything through a solar safe filter, except the sun itself.

The American Astronomical Society is also warning against homemade filters, saying they may dim the sun to a comfortable level, but can still result in damage. And since symptoms may not appear for days, it could take awhile to realize if you've made a catastrophic mistake.