NASA: Look out for fake eclipse glasses

Here's what you need to do to make sure your glasses are safe for the sun

Millions of Americans will be staring up at the sky on August 21.

That's when a rare total solar eclipse will be visible in certain parts of the country -- including here in the Quad Cities.

You need special glasses to protect your eyes. But NASA says it's seeing lots of "fakes" on the market that could be dangerous.

Manufacturers are cranking out millions of safety glasses for the upcoming solar eclipse.

Rainbow Symphony is one of the companies shipping glasses all over the U.S.

Most of the country will see a partial eclipse. But millions will get to witness a total eclipse as the moon completely blocks the sun on a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina. 

"It's a tremendous opportunity for people to witness a celestial event like this," Rainbow Symphony's Mark Margolis said. "Most people have never been in proximity to an eclipse."

Rainbow Symphony's glasses are certified safe, but NASA warns there are plenty of phony glasses on the market that could be dangerous.

NASA solar astrophysicist Alex Young says fake glasses are being sold in stores and online and can do real harm if you use them during the eclipse.

"They damage the cells in your eyes, they damage your retinas and the damage can be permanent," Young said.

To make sure your glasses are safe, look for this certified ISO icon and the number 12312-2 to make sure they properly block the light.

"We put them over the LED you see nothing," Young said. "Now we'll take ones from an unknown, you can see the led light through the glasses. So this is an immediate indication that these glasses are not safe for looking at the sun."

It's also important that the lenses are not scratched or damaged. That will help make sure you see the eclipse without hurting your sight.

Around 7,000 libraries across the U.S. are distributing safety-certified glasses.

Public libraries in Scott and Rock Island counties are giving away free glasses that are approved by NASA.

You can find out if your glasses are certified by clicking here.


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