When millions of Americans turn their faces skyward to witness the nation's first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in a century, many will reach for specially designed sunglasses, but experts caution the public to stay clear of unsafe counterfeits.
Even as makers of certified, safety-tested solar eye ware rushed to meet surging demand before the Aug. 21 eclipse, they have joined astronomers and optometrists in warning of defective knockoffs flooding the U.S. market.
Staring at the sun without proper filtration, even when it is partially obscured by the moon during an eclipse, can damage or destroy photo-receptor cells of the eye's retina, leaving blind spots in a person's field of vision, experts said.
Special eyeglasses made with proper solar filters allow viewers to safely gaze at the sun any time for unlimited duration, the AAS said.
Look for sunglasses with the icon: ISO 12312-2