The total eclipse will be the last that Europe sees until 2081 / REUTERS/Mike Blake

Looking at the eclipse without the right protection could cause pain and permanent damage

Those planning to watch the solar eclipse on Friday morning need to make sure their eyes are properly protected — and getting in soon to buy the glasses is important as prices and demand surges.

The UK will see a partial eclipse on Friday morning — between 8am and 11am, peaking at 9.30am — and it should be visible in most of the country. But looking at it directly could do permanent damage to people’s eyes.

The glasses are being sold online and in shops, and though they can be made very cheaply are already commanding prices of up to £20 as demand surges.

And given that huge interest in buying the glasses, some glasses that are available might not be up to the job. (Sunglasses almost certainly aren’t.) It’s good to check that the glasses you’re buying have the CE mark, meaning that they’ve been approved and meet the requirements of the EU.

Online, most retailers are selling the glasses in bulk, so it’s a good idea to get together with friends or family and make one big purchase at once. On Amazon, for instance, sellers are offering five of the glasses for £44.99.

eclipse.jpg But as Friday approaches, the best way to get the glasses might be from local sellers. It’s likely that the huge demand for the glasses has partly been a result of people snapping them up to sell on Friday, so you’re likely to find that they can be bought at places where people will be gathering to watch the eclipse.

It’s also worth looking to see whether you have any glasses left over from the last major eclipse, in 1999. Almost everybody rushed out to buy the glasses that year — and, given that they’re not much use for anything else, they could be kicking around in an attic or rarely-visited drawer.

Cameras should also be protected, since just like eyes their lenses can mean that looking at the sun can do serious damage. Special equipment is available to protect cameras and to ensure that you get the best picture of the eclipse if you’re trying to photograph it.

If you are taking pictures while looking through the lens of a camera, it’s important to ensure that the image is going through a filter or that you are wearing special glasses. The lens can amplify the — meaning that the light is amplified before it reaches your eye and meaning that even normal eclipse glasses might not be good enough.