March 27, 2024 - On April 8, Allen County residents will be treated to a rare and exciting event: A solar eclipse that will plunge much of Indiana into a brief period of darkness.

With anticipation building and excitement growing, the Allen County Department of Health and the Allen County Office of Homeland Security want to ensure everyone enjoys the extraordinary event safely. The eclipse offers a unique opportunity to view a seldom-seen cosmic phenomenon, but there are potential health effects to consider – and safety is a top priority.

“The biggest health risk is to your eyes,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Gutwein. “Looking directly at the sun for even a few seconds without special glasses can cause a severe burn to the eye, much like a sunburn. That can lead to serious – possibly permanent – problems like blurry vision, blind spots in your eyes, distorted vision or even blindness. We want everyone to have a chance to view the eclipse, but please do it safely.”

Looking at an eclipse can cause a condition called solar retinopathy, in which the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eye) is damaged. Those with symptoms such as blurry or distorted vision or blind spots should contact and follow up with an eye care professional to evaluate and monitor the situation.

All areas of the state will see at least a partial eclipse, which will start about 1:45 p.m. and end about 4:30 p.m. While Fort Wayne is not in the Path of Totality (the path traced on the earth’s surface by the moon), a portion of southeast Allen County is. People anywhere in the county will see a portion, and it is important to look at the eclipse only with special glasses or viewers designed for such viewing.

Sunglasses are not a safe alternative, and the eclipse should not be viewed through a camera or telescope without a proper filter.

Interest in the eclipse is expected to be high, and many are expected to travel to select spots to view it. That means some areas in and around Allen County might see heavier-than-usual traffic.

“We want to encourage residents and visitors to experience this eclipse safely,” said Bernie Beier, director of the Allen County Office of Homeland Security. “Expect increased traffic. Plan your routine errands for before and after Monday, April 8. Expect travel delays, and plan for extended trips – even local ones.”

Motorists are urged to find a safe place to view the eclipse and avoid experiencing it while driving.

Other ways to be safe:

  • Fuel your vehicle before April 8. Begin travel with a full tank and a charged cellphone. Take some water and healthy snacks.
  • Stay up-to-date on the weather forecast and the potential for quickly changing weather conditions.
  • Do not drink and drive. 

Additional resources:

  • Department of Health eclipse website – Includes information about eye safety and viewing the eclipse safely -
  • American Astronomical Society – Website lists trusted vendors of eclipse glasses and viewers -
  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security – Agency provides resources such as information about timing of the eclipse, safety plans and travel -
  • Indiana Department of Transportation Trafficwise Map – Shows real-time traffic conditions across the state - //,40.03112,7?show=incidents,normalCameras,stationsAlert,weatherWarningsAreaEvents,plowCameras,flooding">