Un­safe eclipse glasses flood­ing mar­ket

Group of­fers list of rep­utable ven­dors to pro­tect eyes

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

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.

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