Fake Solar Eclipse Glasses: Your Community May Be at Risk

Fake Solar Eclipse Glasses: Your Community May Be at Risk

Current Issues and Events | Aug. 14, 2017

people watching a solar eclipse with glasses

Millions of Americans will watch the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and have already purchased (or will) eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers to do so. Some of these people may be at risk from counterfeit glasses and viewers sold by disreputable vendors trying to cash in on this rare event. Watching the eclipse with fake protective gear can cause permanent eye damage, making this a community risk reduction issue.

Only glasses and viewers verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet ISO 12312-2 are safe to use when viewing the eclipse. This standard requires glasses and viewers to be thousands of times darker than typical sunglasses.

It may be hard to tell the difference between genuine protective gear and fake glasses/viewers as some counterfeit makers are placing ISO labels on them. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has guidance to help eclipse watchers determine if their eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers are safe. In addition, NASA recommends that eclipse watchers refer to the AAS’s website for a list of reputable vendors selling solar glasses and viewers.


Fire and EMS departments: You can help alert community residents to the dangers of these fake glasses and viewers by spreading the word through appropriate communications channels, especially social media.

How to view the 2017 solar eclipse safely


Remind community residents that they can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that they protect their eyes at all times with the proper solar glasses and viewers. NASA safety tips for watching the eclipse.

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive home fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, and practicing a fire escape plan.