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Counterfeit Eclipse glasses are selling online. How to Spot Counterfeits – National | Globalnews.ca

As excitement grows for the upcoming total solar eclipse, warnings about counterfeit and fake eclipse glasses are also emerging.

Looking directly at the sun without proper protection can cause serious problems, such as partial or complete loss of vision, warns the Canadian Space Agency.

That’s why it’s important to get internationally certified glasses that can prevent eye damage when looking up, experts say.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, aligning perfectly and completely blocking sunlight. But any eclipse will begin and end as a partial eclipse when the sun is not entirely hidden.


Click to play video: “Eye Protection from Solar Eclipses: What Optometrists Recommend for Viewing”


Eye protection against solar eclipses: what optometrists recommend for viewing


“The problem with the eclipse (is that) because of this partial obstruction of UV lights, we can actually look at the sun and think, it’s no big deal because we don’t get the same glare, the same discomfort we usually get from the sun, and that’s when the damage really happens,” said Samir Jabbour, an ophthalmologist and cornea specialist in Montreal.

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“Damage can be done very quickly just by looking at the sun for a few seconds and symptoms can start to appear a few weeks after the damage occurs,” he said in an interview with Global News.

In Kingston, where a total solar eclipse is brewing on April 8, Queen’s University has alerted residents about counterfeit eclipse glasses.

“We have discovered that counterfeit eclipse glasses are being sold online to residents of Kingston – counterfeited to look like glasses sold by Solar Eclipse International, Canada (SEIC),” the university said in a post Tuesday on X.

“These glasses do NOT block enough sunlight to be safe. You can tell by looking at the lights in the house: if you can see the lights easily, they should be thrown out.

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The American Astronomical Society also issued a warning last week about counterfeit and counterfeit eclipse glasses that are “polluting the market.”

Celestial Optical, an American company, claims that thousands of counterfeit versions of its eclipse glasses have been sold on Amazon.ca.

“Around mid-February, we noticed that the market was flooded with counterfeits of our authentic EclipseGuard glasses,” said Adam Levy, president of Celestial Optical, in a statement to Global News.

“Thankfully, the issues on Amazon.ca have been resolved, but for three weeks, unscrupulous foreign seller accounts hijacked our own product listings with ultra-discounted prices, sidelining our own authentic and safe products. »

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The company estimates that at least 10,000 packages, or about 100,000 counterfeit versions of its Eclipse glasses, were sold online, before Amazon.ca removed those product listings.

“Unfortunately, we have also seen counterfeits of products from other reputable manufacturers and it appears that not all counterfeits have the metallic layer on the sun-facing side,” Levy said.

An Amazon spokesperson told Global News it continually monitors its store and takes steps to maintain a safe selection for customers, including removing non-compliant products.

Meanwhile, Health Canada told Global News it has not received any reports of sales of fake or counterfeit solar eclipse glasses in the country.

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Which eclipse glasses are safe?

Many Canadians will have the opportunity to witness the total solar eclipse, the first to cross the country since 1979.

On April 8, the total path of the solar eclipse will pass through parts of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland -and-Labrador. Cities and towns outside the path of totality will experience a partial solar eclipse.

People observing an eclipse must wear special glasses that meet the safety requirements of the international standard ISO 12312-2.

Having the ISO standard means these glasses are inspected for safety and harmful rays will not pass through them, said Mark Eltis, a Toronto-based optometrist, in a previous interview with Global News.

A street vendor sells sunglasses certified for viewing the total solar eclipse in Pucon, Chile, December 12, 2020.

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

According to the AAS, this standard is defined based on several properties such as transmission, transmission uniformity, material and surface quality, mounting and labeling.

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However, even fake or counterfeit eclipse glasses and other sunglasses can be labeled as ISO-compliant without being properly tested for safety, experts say.

“You’re going to find a lot of merchants who might sell them online, and they might claim that they have this protection, but we’re not really sure if they’re actually well protected,” Jabbour said.

He said the best way to find reliable merchants for safe eclipse sunglasses is to check the American Astronomical Society’s list of approved vendors. It includes several authorized resellers in Canada.

Jabbour said you should also make sure the glasses you receive aren’t scratched, as this could allow ultraviolet (UV) light to penetrate your retina and cause damage.

Without laboratory testing, it is difficult to tell with the naked eye whether a pair of Eclipse glasses meets the ISO standard, since any supplier can put the ISO logo on their product.

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That’s why it’s important to get them from a reliable source, Jabbour said.

However, there are a few red flags to watch out for.

Joanne Hostetter, an Explore Scientific employee, works to prepare Sun Catcher solar eclipse glasses that will be shipped to customers at the Explore Scientific store on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Springdale, Ark.

AP Photo/Michael Woods

Levy, of Celestial Optical, said counterfeits of their eclipse glasses do not show their name and address, which is a requirement of the ISO specification.

The sun side of their glasses also has a metallic coating essential for safe solar vision, unlike counterfeits, which typically have matte black lenses on both sides, the company noted in a March 19 press release.

The AAS says on its website that you shouldn’t see anything with proper eclipse glasses except very bright lights, which should appear very dimly through the glasses.

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“If you can see anything else, like furniture or pictures on the wall, your glasses aren’t dark enough to see the sun.”

You can also test the glasses outside on a sunny day and make sure the sun’s reflection on the surface appears very faint, says AAS.

And if you briefly look directly at the sun with legitimate eclipse glasses, you should see a sharp-edged, comfortably bright round disk.


Click to play video: “Enthusiasm grows for Montreal’s total solar eclipse”


Excitement builds for total solar eclipse in Montreal


How to watch the eclipse safely

According to experts, one should not wear ordinary sunglasses to observe the eclipse.

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Eltis suggests that when you put on your special eclipse glasses, you should look at the ground before looking at the sun, then look down after viewing the eclipse.

While it may be tempting to take off your eclipse glasses at the time of totality – which will last between one and four minutes – Eltis warned that this could be dangerous if you don’t know exactly when the solar eclipse is occurring. total. Even a burst of sunlight can damage the eyes.

If you’re worried about looking at the eclipse directly, you can also view it indirectly via a pinhole projector.

Children should be fully supervised during the eclipse, Eltis and Jabbour stressed.

— With files from Katherine Ward and Eric Stober of Global News



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