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Are Eclipse Glasses Different Than Your Everyday Shades?

By Essilor News

We’re coming up fast on August 21, the date of Eclipse 2017. On this day, hundreds of millions of people will watch what’s being called the “most photographed, most shared, most tweeted event in human history.” With this much hype, you don’t want to be the only one in the country who doesn’t see it. But don’t think you can just grab your standard sunnies and look up at this celestial phenomenon. That’s eclipse blindness – which could cause permanent eye damage – just waiting to happen.

Everyone from scientists to eyecare professionals want you to understand that you cannot watch the eclipse without proper protection, and your standard glasses or sunwear won’t cut it. While your Xperio UV maximum protection sunglasses provide the best vision under the sun throughout the rest of the year, you’ll still need to pick up additional certified eyewear to view the eclipse. Yes, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but no, it’s not worth hurting your eyes to see it. Luckily, there are ways you can experience the eclipse and protect your eyes at the same time.

Eclipse glasses are not high tech – they look like those old paper 3-D glasses you used to get at the movies. But instead of red and blue, the lenses are nearly pitch black or have a silver mirror coating on the outside. These special-purpose solar filters block more than 99 percent of visible light and decrease the amount of light reaching your eyes by a million fold. This is important because even if there’s only a sliver of the sun visible when you look to the sky, that small sliver of light is just as bright as full sunlight. Experts recommend you wear a solar filter to keep your eyes safe and reduce your exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation. Unlike your everyday sunnies, you shouldn’t try to drive or even walk while wearing eclipse glasses.

With a few clicks of your mouse, you can snag a pair of NASA-approved eclipse glasses that will allow you to safely view the wonder of a total solar eclipse and emerge with your vision intact. It’s also easy to find companies selling expert-approved eclipse viewers online and you can pick up a pair for as little as $2. Be sure that the viewers you buy meet ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for viewing and have the manufacturer’s name and address so you’ll know you have the real deal.

You can also check with your local library as more than 6,800 libraries across the country are giving out eclipse glasses for free. Even if you have an old pair of solar filter glasses at home, you’ll want to get a new pair as NASA warns against using lenses that are homemade, wrinkled, scratched or more than three years old.

By spending a little time and a little money, you’ll be prepared for – and protected during – this incredible once-in-a-lifetime event. But don’t stop there, talk to your eyecare professional about the protection you need to keep your eyes healthy for the rest of the year, too.