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The next total solar eclipse for North America will take place this year on April 8, when our Moon blocks the Sun in an awesome display of celestial wonder.

But whereever you are, please don't look at the spectacle without eye protection.

A young woman in 2017 learned this lesson the hard way when she gazed up at that year's total solar eclipse on August 21st and permanently damaged her eyesight, The New York Times reports. Whenever she opened her eyes to look at the world, she saw a black area in her vision, shaped like a crescent reminiscent of when the Moon is about to completely block the Sun.

The shape was "almost like a branding,"  New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Hospital ophthalmologist Avnish Deobhakta told the NYT.

The woman had come to the center, where Deobhakta examined her. She had looked at the eclipse with her naked eyes and the eclipse literally burned itself into her retina.

Her case was so astonishing that Deobhakta, along with several doctors at Mount Sinai, wrote up a paper about her case for the medical journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Deobhakta said the young woman's retina scar "would not heal" and was basically permanent.

With this cautionary tale in mind, if you want to see the next solar eclipse, NASA has tons of recommendations, such as getting specialized glasses with a solar filter for viewing the eclipse safely.

And don't use your regular sunglasses, binoculars, telescope or camera to look at the eclipse without a special solar eclipse filter.

You can also observe the eclipse via an indirect method such as a solar pinhole projector box you can quickly make at home.

And if you see yourself spending hours out in the Sun waiting for the solar eclipse, experts also recommend you use sunscreen, hats and protective clothing.

Remember, have fun and don't look up with your naked eyes — because as cool as the celestial event is, you certainly don't want a permanent souvenir from it.

More on solar eclipses: Total Solar Eclipses Are on the Path to Extinction

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