Eclipse fever has hit, hard, and a whole lot of areas are bracing themselves, hoping for the best. It’s all well and good to want to see an eclipse, it’s exciting, lots to ooh and aaah over, but it’s not worth permanently damaging your eyes, and there’s been an unprecedented demand for eclipse glasses, and a great many people are heading straight to Amazon for them, and Amazon has no oversight when it comes to properly rated specs. There’s a wealth of counterfeit specs on the market.
[…] APO itself has done the same. Jason Lewin, the company’s director of marketing, says APO started to notice the counterfeits showing up on Amazon about a month ago. Since then, they’ve ordered some of the products, tested them, and sent Amazon photos and documentation of the counterfeits. Both Lewin and APO president John Jerit have been frustrated by the lack of response. They’re late to the game with this,” says Jerit. “Some of the legitimate resellers we’ve got, they’ve been complaining and complaining about this.
“[Counterfeiting] isn’t new to Amazon but this isn’t fidget spinners,” adds Lewin. “These are supposed to be things to keep you safe.”
All this has made me suspicious about my own glasses. The ones I bought have all the right words printed on them: “meets the Transmission Requirements of ISO 12312-2” they say, before going on to list a slew of other standards allegedly met. Then at the end: “Mfg. by: American Paper Optics.”
But the Amazon listing didn’t actually say American Paper Optics manufactured the lenses; it just showed up with the Tennessee-based company’s stamp on it. I ask Lunt how I could tell if what I had was the real deal or a knock-off, and he tells me to look at the earpieces. There’s a design element that’s been generic among all of cardboard glasses for years (remember those red-and-blue lensed 3D glasses?): the part of the cardboard frame that hooks over the ears has a rounded end. APO recently changed their design to have a more squared-off earpiece.
No surprise, my 10-pack all have rounded ears, the scarlet letter of phoniness.
As you can see, a bit of care is needed to make sure you aren’t endangering your eyes if you’re going to be an eclipse hunter this month. Quartz has an in-depth article about this, and NASA has guidelines available, too.
Be sure you’re safe, check and doublecheck those specs!