PROVO, UTAH, US. June 20th, 2023 – Eclipse Glasses USA, a leading organization committed to promoting safety and knowledge regarding solar eclipses, is pleased to provide essential guidelines on purchasing safe eclipse glasses to protect your eyes during the next two solar eclipses over the Western United States and Eastern United States, in October 2023 and April 2024, respectively. As astronomical events captivate enthusiasts worldwide, it is crucial to prioritize eye safety and choose the right protective gear to enjoy these spectacles without risking vision damage.
Solar eclipses offer breathtaking celestial displays, but direct viewing of the Sun without proper protection can cause severe harm to the eyes, including permanent vision loss.
The day following the August 21, 2017 eclipse, some of the most searched for terms on Google had to do with eye damage. Eclipse Glasses USA encourages individuals to follow these guidelines when purchasing eclipse glasses:
1. Look for Certified/Compliant Products: Ensure that the eclipse glasses you purchase meet the international safety standard ISO 12312-2. These glasses are specifically designed to block harmful solar radiation and provide adequate protection for your eyes. Look for the ISO logo on the glasses or packaging.
Some companies are claiming their glasses are NASA certified. NASA is not a certifying body and as such, does not certify the safety of eclipse glasses. ISO compliance is the penultimate standard.
2. Reputable Vendors: Purchase eclipse glasses from trusted vendors. Avoid buying from unknown sources or unauthorized sellers, as their products may not meet safety standards. A list of reputable verified vendors can be found on the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) website.
3. Verify Authenticity: The market is being flooded with fake eclipse glasses from overseas. Be cautious of counterfeit or substandard eclipse glasses. Verify the authenticity of the product by checking the manufacturer’s information, including their contact details and website.
Ask for a current ISO 12312-2 compliance test result. Some vendors are using test results from the 2017 North American eclipse but their solar filter products may have changed since then. Others are using test results from labs that do not have the capability to certify ISO compliance.
If in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer directly to confirm the authenticity of their products or ask Eclipse Glasses USA to look into it for you.
4. Optical Density and Transmission Requirement: Ensure that the eclipse glasses have a suitable optical density to block harmful visible light, ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR) radiation. The glasses should have a luminosity rating of 0.000061% to 0.0032%. This transmission rating will be noted in legitimate testing results. If you are provided with a test result that only shows “pass” instead of the quantitative results of the test, it is best to not buy from that vendor.
Do not use regular sunglasses or homemade filters, as they are not sufficient to safeguard your eyes. If your glasses/viewers are ISO 12312-2 compliant, this means they adequately protect you from harmful visible light, UV, and infrared radiation from the Sun.
5. Condition and Integrity: Inspect the eclipse glasses for any signs of damage, scratches, or aging. Discard glasses with scratches, holes, or damaged filters, as they may compromise the safety of your eyes. It is essential to use eclipse glasses in pristine condition. Do not use glasses that are more than 3 years old or have been stored for any amount of time in extreme temperatures.
6. Usage Instructions: Read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully. Pay attention to any specific usage guidelines, such as the recommended duration of use, and adhere to them strictly to avoid eye damage.
Roger Sarkis, owner of Eclipse Glasses USA and current university faculty member emphasizes, “Don’t wait until the last minute to source your eclipse glasses. Make sure you order early and from reputable vendors only and far enough ahead of time so you don’t miss the October 2023 eclipse. This will be the last eclipse over the western US for 20 years. You don’t want to miss it by purchasing bogus products or waiting until they’re sold out.”
Eclipse Glasses USA encourages the public to spread awareness about the importance of eye safety during solar eclipses and to share these guidelines with friends, family, and communities to ensure everyone can safely witness these awe-inspiring astronomical phenomena.