Unsafe eclipse glasses flooding market
Group offers list of reputable vendors to protect eyes
The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
Could your eclipse glasses be counterfeit? Maybe.
Eclipse glasses are a hot item as the U.S. prepares to be dazzled by a coast-to-coast eclipse Aug. 21. But some companies are skirting safety regulations and hawking unsafe wares to an unsuspecting public.
As a result, the American Astronomical Society has issued a word of caution about eye protection after reports of “potentially unsafe eclipse viewers flooding the market.”
Looking for the International Organization for Standardization logo and a label with ISO 12312-2 has been considered a good way to tell if eclipse glasses are up to snuff, but it’s no longer a guarantee, the society says on its website.
“It now appears that some companies are printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers made with materials that do not block enough of the sun’s ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation to make them truly safe,” according to the society.
To help the public, the society’s Eclipse Task Force has compiled a list of reputable vendors at eclipse.aas.org/ resources/solar-filters.
“If we don’t list a supplier, that doesn’t mean their products are unsafe — only that we have no knowledge of them or that we haven’t convinced ourselves they are safe,” Rick Feinberg, a society spokesman, said in a news release.
Eclipse glasses are a must because “looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (‘totality’), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality,” according to NASA.
In areas that will only get a partial eclipse, people who want to look directly at the sun during the event should use special-purpose solar filters, according to NASA.
Taking safety precautions is important to avoid solar retinopathy, which can lead to mild to moderate vision reduction or even central blind spots, according to a University of Louisville news release.