© 2013 Lions Clubs New Zealand
From 10.15am today Venus will pass in front of the sun. This is a hugely significant event in history – it's the very same occurrence that Captain James Cook was dispatched to Tahiti on HMS Endeavour to observe and one that won't happen again until 2117.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) however warn the general public not to look directly at the sun to prevent retina burns (also referred to as "solar retinopathy").
"While the Transit of Venus is a fantastic thing to view (weather permitting), looking directly at the sun can cause serious long lasting damage to the retina in the eye. There are no pain receptors on the retina so you won‟t even know you are doing damage," said RANZCO Vice President Dr Stephen Best.
"Everyone's eyes are at risk if looking directly at the sun, but children's eyes are even more easily damaged. Parents and teachers need to caution children (including teenagers) to never look directly at the sun," warns Dr Best.
"The main message here is that no matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun and do not use sunglasses alone as they don't offer your eyes sufficient protection. If you don‟t have an indirect means to view the Transit of Venus, then please watch it on TV or online."