In just over a week on August 21st, the US will experience its first total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years. Seeing as staring at the sun, even while it is obscured by the moon, for any length of time can be extremely hazardous up to and including the point of severe eye damage or blindness, it’s not a suggestion to buy eclipse glasses that meet minimum safety standards. It’s pretty much mandatory.
All this is why news Amazon has detected vendors selling “counterfeit or unsafe versions” of the glasses, per the Verge, is more than a little discomforting. According to an Amazon safety notification obtained by the Verge, the e-commerce giant has removed the pages for products it could not verify met minimum standards including “MASCOTKING Solar Eclipse Glasses 2017 - CE and ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing — Eye Protection.” It is also offering refunds to customers who have purchased those products.
NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) only recognize five manufacturers as meeting ISO standards, including Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, TSE 17 and Baader Planetarium. Most of them have either sold out or are only offering bulk purchases on their websites, while the remainder do not ship to the US; however, their products remain widely available on Amazon and at retailers.
AAS has warned of a deluge of fake products flooding the market before the eclipse, and has warned that some manufacturers are going so far as to purposefully falsify safety labels and supposed test results.
“As long as you can trace your filters to a reputable vendor or other reliable source, and as long as they have the ISO logo and a statement attesting to their ISO 12312-2 compliance, you should have nothing to worry about,” the society wrote on their website. “What you absolutely should not do is search for eclipse glasses on the internet and buy whatever pops up in the ads or search results.”
AAS has a list of reputable manufacturers and resellers that won’t blind people on their website. It’s probably worth securing some now, whether from the web, a store or one of the 7,000 or so libraries distributing them for eclipse events, because let’s be honest—you probably don’t want to be one of the people scrambling around looking for a pair ten minutes before the eclipse happens.