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Library says it may have distributed counterfeit solar eclipse glasses

The New Jersey library apologized "profusely" in a Facebook post after suspecting the glasses were from a counterfeit manufacturer.
Library says it may have distributed counterfeit solar eclipse glasses
Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 11, 2024

A New Jersey library may have given out counterfeit solar eclipse glasses ahead of Monday's celestial event.

Moorestown Library shared the warning in a Facebook post that day just before noon E.T., which was about three hours before totality began over the neighboring state of New York.

In the post, the library said it had purchased the glasses from Walmart's website, and "though they are labeled as having been manufactured by Medical King, they may be counterfeit."

"We advise against using these and apologize profusely for the error," the post continued.

Viewing the solar eclipse without proper glasses could put a person at risk for solar retinopathy. This untreatable consequence of looking at the sun occurs when the retina is burned, creating a hole in your vision. 

The library urged anyone who used a form of solar eclipse glasses to test them using instructions from CNET, which lists steps like ensuring the ISO standard is a correct level and checking for the product's inclusion on the American Astronomical Society's list of reputable vendors.

The AAS's list on its website does include Walmart as an authorized retailer, but it states that "some (not all)" sell ISO-compliant eclipse glasses in stores though "not necessarily on their websites," as some chains use different suppliers for different selling channels.

SEE MORE: 30% unaware solar eclipses can cause eye damage, survey finds

In this case, Moorestown Library said in a comment that it suspects the glasses it distributed came from a "counterfeit manufacturer" and told one person who said they tested the glasses to an "okay" result that they "cannot be certain of their effectiveness."

The "counterfeit manufacturer" would be Medical King, which the AAS also lists as an authorized importer and dealer of solar eclipse glasses. It gives a link to Medical King's website that also states its product adheres to the AAS's safety protocols.

The glasses have a 3-of-5-star rating on the manufacturer's website, with many saying they were too dark to see the eclipse. Another said the glasses worked fine, but when compared to others the customer had to see the eclipse, the product "hurt eyes a little bit whereas the other ones did not affect vision afterward at all. Not sure what this means for if they're actually good or not."

In the end, whenever that next total solar eclipse comes to the U.S. (you've got 20 years, according to NASA), it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to test your glasses before staring into the sun.

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