Consumer Alert: Amazon recalls solar viewer glasses

Posted: Updated:

A consumer warning from Amazon in advance of next week’s total solar eclipse: The retailing giant has recalled several protective glasses and solar viewers, saying the items may not meet manufacturing safety standards.

Amazon issued a statement saying that, “out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards.”

People who look at an eclipse using substandard lenses risk permanent vision loss because of a condition called solar retinopathy, explains Dr. Matthew Wheatley, a New Jersey retina specialist. He says that holds true whether those lenses are on glasses, cameras, telescopes or binoculars. 

Wheatley advises consumers to only buy lenses that are ISO compliant, meaning they have been tested and shown to meet the standards of the International Organization for Standardization. “As with many scientific principles, you don't know until you test it,” Wheatley says. “And you don't want to be the one to test a pair of lenses to see if you get solar retinopathy.”

The problem is that some of the items Amazon recalled falsely claimed to meet ISO standards. So while checking for the ISO seal is a good first step, it may not be enough. Consumers are also advised to compare the maker of their solar filter and viewer with a list of reputable vendors maintained by the American Astronomical Society. 

That list can be found HERE.

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