Public health officials in Wyoming are warning the public to avoid using fake protective glasses designed for use during the total solar eclipse which will pass over the state next month.

It's a rare event that will have millions of people staring into the sun. Protective eyewear is a must -- looking into the sun with the naked eye can cause retinal damage known as solar retinopathy, the results of which can be permanent.

And while quite a few manufacturers are producing glasses or other eyewear to help people view the eclipse safely, others are putting out subpar products in an effort to rip off eclipse viewers.

Hot Springs County Public Health has released a list of reputable manufacturers and dealers of solar viewers by the American Astronomical Society. As of July 27, these are the only brands genuinely certified by the Society:

  • American Paper Optics
  • APM Telescopes Sunfilter Glasses
  • Baader Planetarium -AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only --
    (NOT AstroSolar Safety Film and AstroSolar Photo Film)
  • Celestron EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers
  • DayStar Solar Glasses
  • Explore Scientific Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses
  • Lunt Solar Systems SUNsafe SUNglasses
  • Meade Instruments EclipseView Glasses & Viewers
  • Rainbow Symphony
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • TSE 17

These organizations sell safe glasses:

  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • Astronomy Magazine
  • Sky & Telescope Magazine

Solar viewers sold in these stores can be purchased with confidence:

  • Kirklands
  • Lowe's
  • Menards
  • Walmart

As with virtually any other product, numerous outlets are selling eclipse eyewear on According to Hot Springs County Public Health, these are the only reputable Amazon sellers at this time:

  • 123 Sales
  • Educational Innovations
  • Electronic Analyst
  • Firefly Buys (FFB)
  • Soluna/GSM Sales

NASA says looking directly at the sun without protective eyewear is only safe during the brief "totality" phase, when the moon completely blocks the sun's face. That's only going to happen along a narrow path.

Anyone within that narrow path can remove the protective eyewear only when the moon entirely covers the sun's face. After experiencing totality, as soon as the sun begins to reappear. put the solar viewer back on to view the remaining partial phases.

At the beginning of the eclipse, stand still and cover your eyes with the protective eyewear before looking at the sun. When finished, turn away before removing the eyewear -- do not take it off while looking at the sun.

Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses will not provide protection, even very dark ones.

Eclipse viewers should always inspect eyewear before use. If scratched or damaged, throw it away and do not use it. Always supervise children using solar filters.

NASA says no one should look at the partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Importantly, neither should folks look at the sun through any optical device while using eclipse glasses or a hand-held solar filter, as the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter the viewer's eyes, causing serious injury.

Anyone who wants to use a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device to view the eclipse should seek expert advice from an astronomer beforehand.

People shouldn't let the warnings scare them off.

"A solar eclipse is one of nature's grandest spectacles," NASA says. "By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime."

Questions should be directed to a qualified eyecare professional.

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