August 9, 2017

FMU professor warns of bogus eclipse glasses

FMU professor warns of bogus eclipse glasses

Before you peer towards the heavens to view the Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21, be sure you’re protecting your eyes with eclipse glasses – not sunglasses – that are properly ISO-rated.

A slew of bogus eclipse glasses have hit the market as the celestial event of the century nears. That’s led to some concerns, and a warning, from Francis Marion University Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Dooley Planetarium Dr. Jeannette Myers on the dangers of viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection.

Myers says the correctly rated glasses will block 99 percent of the ultraviolet light produced by the Sun during the eclipse, while incorrectly ISO-rated glasses will not. Attempting to the view the eclipse through the bogus eclipse glasses could cause permanent damage to viewers’ retinas.

“There are some glasses that have the markings of being ISO rated but are not dark enough to view the sun safely,” Myers says. “The correct glasses for viewing the eclipse will block over 99 percent of the light. This means you can only see the Sun when you look through them. You should not be squinting when looking at the Sun through the glasses.”

Correctly rated glasses are almost opaque, except when viewing the Sun. But the real test is the rating, and the security of purchasing them from a competent vendor.

Without proper protection while viewing the eclipse, damage to viewers’ eyes can occur over just a short period of time.