The solar eclipse is happening August 21st and people are cashing in… at the expense of your eyeballs. Without proper eye wear, you can easily damage the sensitive rods and cones of the eyes. And because your retinas have no pain receptors, the damage to your eyes might go unnoticed until it’s far too late:
When a person looks repeatedly or for a long time at the Sun without proper protection for the eyes, this photochemical retinal damage may be accompanied by a thermal injury – the high level of visible and near-infrared radiation causes heating that literally cooks the exposed tissue. This thermal injury or photocoagulation destroys the rods and cones, creating a small blind area. The danger to vision is significant because photic retinal injuries occur without any feeling of pain (there are no pain receptors in the retina), and the visual effects do not occur for at least several hours after the damage is done [Pitts, 1993].
Unfortunately, the scale of anticipation for this rare event draws assholes looking to make an extra buck off the unwitting. Literally anyone with cardboard and tinted plastic can slap together some “eclipse glasses” and sell them to the public, but that’s not much better for protecting your eyes than looking between your fingers or wearing 3D glasses like you’re a cool kid douchebag from the 1950’s.
“It’s all nonsense,” said Mark Margolis, of NASA-approved Rainbow Symphony. “There are a zillion companies putting out the same product and they all have different names. And this isn’t because I don’t want competition in the marketplace. We’re oversold and on backorder. It’s not my motive to keep competitors out of the market.”
Protect Your Peepers
Here are the NASA-approved manufacturers of safety glasses for the eclipse:
- American Paper Optics
- Rainbow Symphony
- Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
Best sites in the US for watching the eclipse: