Anyone planning to watch the solar eclipse outside on Aug. 21 must wear certified solar glasses to protect their eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. As the big event nears, demand for solar glasses is at an all-time high and an alarming number of fake glasses have entered the market.
Two local Amazon customers received emails Saturday morning (Aug.12) letting them know the online retailer was recalling their orders of solar glasses because it could not verify the glasses came from a certified manufacturer.
Mick Fischer with the Cedar Hill Firefighters Local 2665 said the union handed out 250 pairs of glasses to its departments, and all were gone within two days. Saturday morning, Fischer got word from Amazon that the glasses the union ordered may not meet the safety requirements.
"As a retailer they are recalling the glasses," said Fischer. "It`s not coming from the retailer, it`s coming from Amazon because they can`t verify that that manufacturer has that certification.'
The Cedar Hill Fire Protection District posted the announcement to its Facebook page alerting the community that they should not use the glasses the departments handed out.
Chesterfield resident Carolyn Vokoun got a similar email from Amazon confirming the suspicions she had about the glasses she purchased. Vokoun had recently seen news reports warning people to check their glasses for the correct certification seal.
'The product description said that they were ISO certified... so I thought I was getting a safe glasses,' Vokoun said.
The American Astronomical Society has issued a 'buyer beware' warning saying even glasses with the ISO seal may not be real.
According to optometrist Wes Wheadon looking at the sun without or with improper eyewear can have devastating effects.
"It literally fries it like an egg in a pan and damages the receptors of the eye that prevent you from seeing," Dr. Wheadon said.
The firefighters union spent about $100 from its Community Outreach Fund on the glasses. Vokoun spent about $10 for 11 pairs of glasses. Both said Amazon will be reimbursing them for their purchase.
Join Fox 2 and News 11 along with CBS Radio and the St. Louis County Parks for a Total Eclipse viewing party at Jefferson Barracks Park. Gates open at 9 a.m. All cars must be parked by 12:45 p.m. to ensure viewers can see the total eclipse phase. For complete details, go to the "Quick Links" section on the home page.