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Counterfeit eclipse-viewing glasses are a thing, and they will ruin your retinas

Counterfeit eclipse-viewing glasses are a thing, and they will ruin your retinas
[Photo: Skoch3 via Wikimedia Commons]

If you bought your solar eclipse viewing glasses minutes after booking your eclipse-viewing yurt in advance of the celestial event coming to the U.S. on August 21, you may want to check the label. Some unsavory manufacturers have been flooding the market with glasses that don’t necessarily meet the minimum safety standards. Since staring at the sun during an eclipse (or ever, really) can result in severe eye damage or blindness, this is kind of a big deal, which is why Amazon said on Sunday that it is offering refunds to anyone who bought glasses on Amazon that “may not comply with industry standards.” The e-commerce giant has also removed a few listings for glasses on its website “out of an abundance of caution,” per Oregon’s KGW news.

While Amazon did not name any of those listings in its statement, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) only recognize five manufacturers as meeting ISO standards: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, TSE 17, and Baader Planetarium. Since total solar eclipses in the U.S. are rare, manufacturers are apparently trying to clear their stockpiles of fake eclipse-viewing glasses now. AAS says there are a lot fake products flooding the market and has warned that some manufacturers are going so far as to purposefully falsify safety labels and supposed test results.ML