As celestial enthusiasts gear up for the awe-inspiring spectacle of a solar eclipse, the crucial role of eclipse glasses cannot be overstated. With the proliferation of online marketplaces, these specialized glasses are readily available at the click of a button. However, as convenience collides with concerns over authenticity and safety, ensuring the quality of eclipse glasses on the internet becomes paramount.

Amidst the convenience of online shopping, potential buyers should exercise caution and adhere to a few essential guidelines. Firstly, always opt for glasses that adhere to the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. This internationally recognized certification guarantees that the glasses have undergone rigorous testing to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of direct solar radiation.

Secondly, sourcing eclipse glasses from reputable vendors like Eclipse Glasses USA or well-known manufacturers can help mitigate the risks of purchasing counterfeit or subpar products. Reading reviews and checking for certifications on the seller's website can provide insights into the quality of their offerings.

Lastly, it's wise to be skeptical of unusually low prices. Authentic eclipse glasses require specialized materials and coatings, so prices that seem too good to be true might indicate a compromise in quality. When you see eclipse glasses that are ISO certified along with their incumbent pricing, use that as your benchmark. For example, one vendor is presently selling glasses for $0.50 each, while others are between $2 to $3/pair. When we asked this vendor where their glasses were made, they admitted their manufacturing partners were in Asia, which has recently struggled to source the silver polymer material required for ISO certification.

Based on our own research and investigations, we've found that manufacturers from China are currently selling non-ISO compliant eclipse glasses and solar viewers. We have had these glasses tested in 2 different labs and they have failed each time. Some vendors are continuing to source their eclipse glasses and solar viewers from these manufacturers and are using manufacturer-supplied test results from manufacturer-selected labs in Asia that are not accredited. This is why it is important to use the AAS's website as a resource. The AAS verifies each vendor's testing results and only those vendors who can produce test results from accredited labs are allowed to be listed on the site.

As it stands, there are eclipse glasses and solar viewer vendors on Amazon who are not listed on the AAS's website and who we know are sourcing indirectly or directly from Asia.

In conclusion, while the internet offers a convenient avenue for acquiring eclipse glasses, vigilance is essential to ensure their quality and safety. Prioritize trusted sellers, adhere to established safety standards, and remember that safeguarding your eyes during this extraordinary event is worth the extra effort.

August 27, 2023 — Roger Sarkis

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