LOS ANGELES - When millions of Americans turn their faces skyward to witness the nation's first coast-to-coast total Solar Eclipse in a century, many will reach for specially designed sunglasses, but experts caution the public to stay clear of unsafe counterfeits.
Staring at the sun without proper filtration, even when it is partially obscured by the moon during an Eclipse, can damage or destroy photo-receptor cells of the eye's retina, leaving blind spots in a person's field of vision, experts said.
SHADY DISTRIBUTORS As a measure of excitement surrounding the event, a leading supplier of Solar lenses, Arizona-based Thousand Oaks Optical, has sold enough of its filters this year alone to produce roughly 100 million pairs of glasses, company owner Pat Steele-Gaishin told Reuters.
While a last-minute rush has left many dealers out of stock two weeks before the big day, the good news is that U.S. astronomy buffs have to wait only seven more years for the next total solar eclipse over North America, in April 2024.
Made from an extremely opaque black polymer film containing fine carbon powder, true solar-safe lenses are designed to screen out 250,000 times more visible light than would otherwise reach the naked eye, said B. Ralph Chou, a Canadian optometrist who led the development of global standards for solar optics.
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