Solar eclipse glasses offer protection from vision loss

Local Eye Clinic Warns Public About Potential Fake Eclipse Glasses

The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers.

To safely view the epic solar eclipse that will cut a dramatic shadow across the United States on August 21, you'll need a special pair of ultra-dark sunglasses. So, if you walk through your house and you can still view ordinary household lights through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, then that means your device is bogus.

"It's so risky for people to look at the sun even for brief periods of time because you can cause permanent damage to the retina - we call it solar retinopathy and it's really very close to burning a hole in the retina".

The only one way to safely view a partial or total eclipse is with certified solar glasses - simple sunglasses are not enough. Of course, as we're sure you've heard, there's a dark side to trying to get a glimpse of the eclipse.

The AAS warns the "marketplace is being flooded by counterfeit eclipse glasses that are labeled as if they're ISO-compliant when in fact they are not".

While the eclipse will only reach 85 percent of southern Wisconsin, the risk of vision loss still exists if protective eyewear is not used.

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The Oak Ridge Public Library will give out 500 pairs of eclipse glasses to library patrons on Monday, August 14.

The organization also has a list of retailers that stock glasses made by verified manufacturers at some (but not all) of their locations.

If you've already purchased a pair of specs, AAS has a tip for testing them out. When you have the real deal, you won't be able to see a thing but the sun.

"It's very important to wear these glasses because your eyes are precious, your vision is precious", he said.

According to the Storm Team, the last time one was visible in the United States was back in 1979.

Eclipses happen as the moon moves between the Earth and sun, casting a shadow across whichever part of the world that spins by.