EXPERTS are warning people not to look directly at tomorrow's eclipse of the Sun after dozens of people were blinded last time.

Children, who will be starting school at the time, are thought to be particularly at risk.

Eye specialists reported 70 people in the UK lost their sight during the total solar eclipse of 1999 - 40 per cent of them after only looking at it for a matter of seconds.

Now they are urging people to use safer ways to enjoy the natural phenomenon, including through homemade projectors or by watching online webcasts.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) found that the 38 men and 32 women had solar maculopathy after the last eclipse, a form of sight loss caused by cells inside the eyes becoming burnt by the sun's rays.

The condition, which cannot be prevented by sunglasses, is incurable but some cases recover naturally over time.

A spokeswoman from the RCOphth said: “The fine cells in the macula and which is located at the centre of the retina may be damaged by solar burns.

"As these cells are responsible for good central vision patients may experience reduced vision after prolonged solar gazing.”

John O'Hagan, head of the optical radiation group at Public Health England, said: “Even if it's cloudy there's a risk of eye damage. Sunglasses won't give enough protection."

Where to buy glasses

Amazon - five pairs for £45

eBay - between £10 to £20

Get a pair for free if you buy BBC's A Sky At Night magazine, which should be available in your local newsagent - but hurry while stock lasts.

If you can't find CE-approved glasses, don't rely on regular sunglasses - they won't protect you. Instead it's worth looking at other techniques, such as pinhole projection.