How to spot fake eclipse glasses

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Amazon recalled hundreds of thousands of eclipse glasses Saturday. Moran Eye Center and Clark Planetarium here in Salt Lake teamed up today to show how to spot the fakes. 

Last week, ABC4 reported that viewers need to look for a specific ISO number on the inside of the glasses, but uncertified manufacturers have taken advantage of that number. 

Clark Planetarium Director Seth Jarvis says, “The people who were selling these glasses online cannot guarantee that the glasses conform to the various safety requirements to be certified for human viewing of the sun.”

Now it’s important to look for certain manufacturer information. Jarvis explained, “The most important thing is that the contact information is listed in which the manufacturer is identified by name and email, all of that is on these glasses so you can see who’s making them.” 

To verify that your glasses are solar certified, you should see the manufacturer’s name and contact information on the inside of your glasses. 

Moran Eye Center distributed 600 pairs of glasses that fell under the recall. They say they do not recommend using these glasses and offer a full refund. 

Opthamologist Jeff Pettey says using uncertified glasses is just too risky. He said, “If you have a pair of eclipse glasses that you’ve already purchased, you need to go through the steps to make sure that they are legitimate and that they have been certified appropriately and if you have any question about their legitimacy, do not use them.”

Clark Planetarium provided a list of certified manufacturers: 

  • American Paper Optics (Eclipser)
  • Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
  • DayStar (Solar Glasses)
  • Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
  • Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles
  • Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses)
  • Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
  • Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
  • Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)
  • Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer &SolarLite) 

You can find more information about specific manufacturers at www.nasa.gov

Clark Planetarium expects to sell the last of their 21,000 pairs by Thursday. If you’re having trouble getting your hands on a pair of legit solar glasses, don’t worry, there are many ways to watch the eclipse and protect your eyes. 

The easiest thing to do is make a pinhole projector. Just tape some tinfoil over a square hole in a slab of cardboard, punch a small hole, and hold it over a piece of paper. Planetareum Director Jarvis said he’s even seen people use the small holes in Saltine crackers. 

Another easy method is to use a piece of shade 14 welders plate. Welder’s plate is the glass used in welding masks and shields, and it’s important that you get shade 14 exactly. You can find welder’s plate at Clark Planetarium or at any welding outfitter

Finally, a pair of binoculars will do the trick. Cover one of the lenses and hold the binoculars so that the one wide end is pointing at the sun. Do NOT look into the binoculars, but allow the light to filter through onto a piece of paper. 

If you received a recall letter or are worried about the glasses you found, doctors say, your eyesight isn’t worth the risk. Dr. Pettey said that permanent damage is possible. He said, “The type of eye damage that occurs from looking at the sun is damage to the central vision.” If you’ve ever looked into a camera flash, you’ve experienced that after-image of the light in the center of your vision. Damage from the sun can cause a similar after-image to stay permanently. 

“The severity of damage depends on two things, how intense the exposure was, how long you were looking, the other thing is something that you can’t control which is your own eye,” Dr. Pettey explained. 

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