Assessment of knowledge, beliefs and practices of our population regarding effects of viewing a solar eclipse

Niloufer Sultan Ali, Badar Sabir Ali, Syed Iqbal Azam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To assess the prevalence of knowledge, beliefs and practices of people coming to The Aga Khan University Hospital, about viewing a solar eclipse. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey was conducted at The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi from January 2000 to April 2000. A self-administered questionnaire was filled by the patient or attendant who were aged 18 and above. Total of 202 respondents were interviewed. The data was analyzed by Epi Info. Results: Mean age of respondents was 35.8 years. Overall, awareness regarding the harmful effects to their eyes by viewing an eclipse directly was 83.2%. Females were more knowledgeable. Majority had obtained information from TV. One third thought it was safe to view the eclipse through binoculars or through smoked glasses. Half of the respondents thought the same about photographic films and sunglasses. Viewing an eclipse by a pregnant mother had an adverse effect on the fetus and on herself was thought to be 50% and 45% respectively. Use of knife or scissors by pregnant females at the time of solar eclipse was thought to be harmful for the fetus and to herself by 41% and 38% respectively. Conclusion: Majority knew that viewing a solar eclipse could be harmful to their eyes but they did not know the safest way. As there is no effective treatment for solar retinopathy, the emphasis should be on prevention. We need to increase public awareness regarding the safest way to watch an eclipse, which is by indirect method using projection. Myths regarding ill effects of solar eclipse on pregnant mother and on fetus need to be removed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-121
Number of pages5
JournalPakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Solar Eclipse

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