Solar Eclipse Eyewear

ICS Laboratories advocates the use of proper eye-protection for those planning to view the total solar eclipse of August 21 and advises that parents, educators, astronomy enthusiasts and all other potential buyers of these products exercise caution when making their purchases to ensure receipt of genuinely tested and certified filters.

In less than one month, North America will be treated to a rare total solar eclipse. The phenomenon is the result of the moon’s orbit bringing it directly between the earth and the sun. The path of this particular eclipse will cross the entire continental United States from ocean to ocean, an event that has not occurred since 1918.   The spectacle has been described as one of the most incredible natural wonders that a person may take in during their lifetime. Preparations for the event have seen consumers investigating the best ways to enjoy the total eclipse without doing irreparable harm to their eyesight.

Both NASA and the American Astronomical Society have compiled summary-guides concerning eye safety while viewing this solar eclipse. (pasted below) As the guides point out, an international standard exists for this specialized type of eye protector: “ISO 12312-2 Eye and Face Protection – Sunglasses and Related Eyewear – Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun”. ICS is accredited to perform the entirety of this assessment, which, amongst other parameters, checks the transmittance of various types of light through sample protectors. The performance requirements contained in the standard, which was cooperatively developed by members of the international optical and medical communities, stipulates the function of eclipse glasses/filters so that they protect the extremely sensitive retinas as well as other parts of the eye.

Unfortunately, eclipse viewers’ collective demand for appropriate eye protection has created an opportunity for unscrupulous sellers to exploit these good intentions by way false testing and certification claims and fabricated/altered technical documentation. ICS has been made aware of several product listings on that claim to have been “Testing and Certified” by our organization. These claims are false. ICS Labs does not certify any eclipse viewers, but instead performs testing that is used by certification bodies, some of which we work cooperatively with.

All potential users/buyers of solar eclipse filters ought to be skeptical when reviewing sales and marketing claims. Read reviews, perform background research on manufacturers and sellers of these types of products and purchase only from reputable sources. Consumers looking to place bulk orders are encouraged to request the documentation that proves certification and should expect any seller to cooperate in providing this information. If you come across a product description or sales pitch stating certification by ICS Laboratories, please consider purchasing your eclipse eye protection from another seller/source and bring the matter to our attention by emailing or calling our Quality Department @ 330.220.0515 x107.