Eclipse Glasses USA, an esteemed organisation dedicated to promoting safety and knowledge surrounding solar eclipses, is delighted to offer essential guidance on purchasing reliable eclipse glasses to safeguard your eyes during the upcoming solar eclipses in October 2023 and April 2024. As these astronomical events captivate enthusiasts around the world, prioritising eye safety is crucial, and selecting the appropriate protective gear is essential for enjoying these extraordinary spectacles without compromising vision health.
While solar eclipses offer breathtaking celestial displays, direct viewing of the Sun without proper protection can result in severe eye damage, including permanent vision loss.
In order to ensure eye safety, Eclipse Glasses USA recommends following these guidelines when purchasing eclipse glasses:
- Seek Certified/Compliant Products: Verify 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.
Note: Some companies claim their glasses are NASA certified, but NASA does not certify the safety of eclipse glasses. ISO compliance is the ultimate standard.
- Trustworthy Vendors: Purchase eclipse glasses from reputable vendors. Avoid buying from unfamiliar sources or unauthorised sellers, as their products may not meet safety standards. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) website provides a list of verified and trusted vendors.
- Verify Authenticity: Beware of counterfeit or substandard eclipse glasses flooding the market. Ensure the authenticity of the product by checking the manufacturer’s information, including their contact details and website.
Ask for current ISO 12312-2 compliance test results. Some vendors may use outdated test results or results from labs that lack the capability to certify ISO compliance. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly or consult Eclipse Glasses USA for assistance in verifying the authenticity of their products.
- Optical Density and Transmission Requirement: Confirm that the eclipse glasses have an appropriate optical density to block harmful visible light, ultraviolet (UV), and infrared (IR) radiation. The glasses should have a luminosity rating of 0.000061% to 0.0032%. Legitimate testing results will indicate this transmission rating. If provided with a test result that only states “pass” without quantitative results, it is advisable not to purchase from that vendor.
Do not rely on regular sunglasses or homemade filters, as they do not offer sufficient protection. ISO 12312-2 compliant glasses/viewers adequately shield your eyes from harmful visible light, UV, and infrared radiation emitted by the Sun.
- Condition and Integrity: Thoroughly inspect the eclipse glasses for any signs of damage, scratches, or deterioration. Discard glasses with scratches, holes, or damaged filters, as they may compromise eye safety. It is crucial to use eclipse glasses in pristine condition. Avoid using glasses that are more than 3 years old or have been stored in extreme temperatures.
- Follow Usage Instructions: Read and carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Pay attention to specific usage guidelines, such as the recommended duration of use, and strictly adhere to them to prevent eye damage.
Roger Sarkis, owner of Eclipse Glasses USA and current university faculty member, emphasises the importance of sourcing eclipse glasses ahead of time, stating, “Don’t wait until the last minute to obtain your eclipse glasses. Ensure you order from reputable vendors well in advance, so you don’t miss the October 2023 eclipse. This will be the last eclipse over the western US for 20 years. Don’t risk missing it by purchasing counterfeit products or waiting until supplies are depleted.”
Eclipse Glasses USA encourages the public to raise awareness about the significance of eye safety during solar eclipses and share these guidelines with friends, family, and communities, ensuring that everyone can safely witness these awe-inspiring astronomical phenomena.
Please note: The information provided in this article is based on the content available at the time of writing. For the most up-to-date guidelines and safety recommendations, please refer to official sources and consult reputable vendors.