LOCAL NEWS

Eclipse glasses are essential for Saturday’s annular eclipse

Oct 12, 2023, 6:01 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2023, 8:16 am

RIVERTON — Scientists and doctors are reminding eclipse chasers that there is no safe time to look directly at the sun during this eclipse.

Dr. Jarrod Davies works with people’s eyes every day.

“This is the optic nerve where the eye connects to the brain,” he said while pointing to a closeup view of an eyeball on this computer screen. “This darker area here is your macular or your central vision.”

It’s a job he does every day at the Utah Vision Development Center in Riverton.

But as much as he loves helping people with their vision, he is worried some people this Saturday might not take care of their own vision.

“When you’re looking at the sun, this is the spot that the sun is projecting on,” he said.

This Saturday is when the big eclipse will be rolling over Utah.

Davies knows a lot of people will want to see it. However, he also said you shouldn’t look directly at it with your own eyes.

“A few seconds, you can have temporary damage. Longer than a few seconds, you can have permanent damage,” he said.

When the last eclipse came through the area in 2017, Davies said some of his patients suffered eye damage looking directly at it.

That is why his office is offering eclipse glasses.

He sent an email to his patients saying he had them available.

Many people have been coming to his office to take him up on the deal.

“Obviously we don’t make any money on it. We are selling the glasses for a dollar each, at my cost, but we’re really doing it for patient safety,” he said.

The eclipse glasses he has are made by American Paper Optics. The company, based in Tennessee, is one of the largest, if not the largest, eclipse glasses makers in the country.

“I would suspect we are going to be approaching 400 million eclipse glasses we have made since we started,” said John Jerit, president and CEO of American Paper Optics.

That is a lot of eclipse glasses, Jerit also knows there are a lot of knockoffs out there.

That is why he says it is important to make sure your glasses are made in the USA and have an ISO rating on them.

That ISO seal means they have been tested under an international standardized certification.

“ISO certification means we sent it to a lab,” Jerit said. “It means that our glasses are safe for direct viewing of the sun when properly used and when you follow instructions.”

Those instructions should also be printed on the eclipse glasses.

Of course, Jerit also knows companies making knockoff eclipse glasses could also fake certification seals and print them on glasses.

“Reputable companies will actually list labs on there as well as the manufacturer, which gives you traceability,” Jerit said. “There are some glasses coming in from overseas that may be safe.”

Jerit says some of the larger companies that sell his eclipse glasses include Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and 7-Eleven.

You can also buy from his company directly.

More than anything, though, Davies says viewing an eclipse is supposed to be fun. As long as you’re safe.

“It is a unique event so it’s something you don’t want to miss,” Davies said. “But you also don’t want to hurt yourself watching it.”

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Eclipse glasses are essential for Saturday’s annular eclipse