Donald Trump tries to watch eclipse without glasses

US President Donald Trump has ignored an aide's warning and tried to look directly at the solar eclipse without wearing protective glasses.

Standing on the White House's Truman Balcony, Mr Trump was placed next to his wife Melania and son Barron to watch the spectacular natural event unfold.

However the President seemed to doubt the value of the eclipse glasses he'd been given, and at one point took them off to look straight at the sun.

That was despite one of his aides reportedly shouting "don't look" when he first went out onto the balcony, clearly concerned about the damage it might do to his eyes.

Staring directly at the sun can cause solar retinopathy, a condition that causes visual impairment and even blindness.

The solar eclipse stretched between Oregon to South Carolina, but could be seen from most places in the United States.