This summer’s solar eclipse is the perfect example of the need to pay attention to what you are purchasing. Defective products can permanently damage your eyes.
Many personal injuries from product malfunctions are completely unavoidable. One cannot foresee that an airbag will not deploy properly or that a medication may have dangerous side effects. However, we can all strive to be aware of problems that may arise from purchasing products without doing the appropriate research.
This summer’s solar eclipse is the perfect example of the need to pay attention to what you are purchasing. It is common knowledge that one needs to wear protective eclipse glasses or use proper filters to prevent damage to the eyes while viewing an eclipse, but how many of us know what to look for in purchasing these items? As is always the case, there are unscrupulous vendors looking to “make a buck” from uninformed buyers. The consequences of buying knock-off eclipse glasses could be devastating as it only takes only a very short time to cause temporary or permanent damage to the retinas if proper lenses are not used. This damage is amplified if telescopes, binoculars or cameras are used without proper protection.
Eclipse glasses look like 3-D glasses with thick paper/cardboard frames, but they are closer to a welder’s mask than they are to traditional sunglasses in terms of blocking sunlight. Appropriate eclipse glasses block about 99.99% of light rays, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Many libraries and universities are distributing free eclipse glasses. If you are purchasing your own eclipse glasses or filters, make sure that they meet the ISO 12312-2 standard, which is the international standard for safely viewing an eclipse. Some vendors who have been identified as reputable by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, NASA and the American Astronomical Society can be found by researching those organizations online. Just a few of those vendors include Celestron, DayStar, Explore Scientific, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
The opportunity to view a total eclipse is a once in a life-time experience for many people. If you plan to view the eclipse, please make sure that the product you are using allows you to do so safely.