Beware of fake solar eclipse glasses on sale in Ontario


Published March 22, 2024 at 3:23 pm

fake eclipse glasses ontario

As a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse quickly approaches, the rush to get protective eyewear could land you with a pair of fake glasses.

The solar eclipse is happening over Ontario on Monday, April 8 and should be visible either as a partial or total solar eclipse across parts of North America, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

Preparations have been underway for several months and there has been a rush on hotels in areas of southern Ontario that are on the path of totality. In the Niagara Region hotels and Airbnbs are listing rooms at $700 to a whopping $10,000 a night for the big event.

People in areas such as Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto and Durham Region may be able to see a partial eclipse, weather permitting.

But to see the eclipse, you must wear appropriate eyewear. Looking directly at the sun can lead to serious problems such as partial or complete loss of eyesight, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

And as time runs out, many places have sold out of the protective eyewear. Safe-to-use solar glasses are marked with the ISO 12312-2:2015 standard.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada was sold out a few weeks ago and will have a limited number for sale at their office in downtown Toronto.

Matt Davis, marketing specialist with Ontario-based company Telescopes Canada, told they have sold thousands of the ISO-certified protective glasses. They could barely keep up with orders.

“We’ve had thousands and thousands of orders for these glasses,” Davis says. “So trying to process all these is kind of crazy.”

The bulk of orders came in February and they are currently sold out, he said.

In the rush to get the glasses, people may end up ordering fake solar glasses, which could harm your eyes.

Celestial Optical, issued a warning this week to inform customers about counterfeit glasses being sold through online marketplaces. Celestial Optical’s glasses, EclipseGuard, are available for sale on Amazon. But there are counterfeit EclipseGuard popping up for sale online elsewhere.

“Counterfeits from other sellers, which do not meet our rigorous safety standards, pose a risk of ocular damage to individuals looking forward to the upcoming solar eclipse,” the company said in a press release.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada marketing and sales coordinator Renee Drummond said they have heard of fraudulent glasses for sale.

“There are definitely fly-by-night companies that have popped up,” said Davis.

fake eclipse glasses ontario

The best way to ensure the eyewear is up to the ISO 12312-2:2015 standard is to do research and buy from a reputable company.

“If a company looks like it’s just selling solar glasses and it’s just popped up, then I would be a little hesitant,” said Davis.

In addition to the ISO marking on the glasses, the glass lenses should have a reflective shiny surface on the front and a black, less shiny surface on the inside. When you put them on, you shouldn’t be able to see anything aside from the sun.

Those still looking for glasses may find some available at local libraries. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will have a limited number for sale, in-person at their office at 489 College St., Toronto, Suite 203. The glasses will be for sale from Monday, March 25 to Thursday, March 28, and from Monday, April 1 to Friday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, while supplies last.

It may be possible to order them online but there is a risk of not getting them on time. There is a list of approved glasses for sale on the American Astronomical Society website. Prices range from $5 to $20.

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