After discovering that certain pairs didn't meet safety standards, the online retailer began issuing refunds. But it's not too late to get the right specs to view this once-in-a-lifetime event—these sites have them.

Julia Naftulin
August 14, 2017

To protect their eyes during the impending total solar eclipse on August 21, excited viewers went to Amazon to buy special eclipse glasses—only to learn that the specs they purchased for this astronomical event could cause serious eye damage. 

On Sunday, Amazon announced it was recalling some types of solar eclipse glasses sold on the site that did not meet industry safety standards. The online giant will refund the cost of the faulty specs to anyone who purchased them. "We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse," stated the email sent to purchasers, reported CNET.

What's wrong with the recalled glasses? To watch the solar eclipse, viewers need to shield their eyes with the right solar filter; without it, eyes can be burned and vision damaged. The glasses Amazon is recalling do not meet standards created by the International Organization for Standardization (or ISO) because they lack the right filter or other components.

While safe eclipse shades will be labeled with an "ISO-approved" sticker, buyers should still be wary. Many of the dupes have fake ISO certification stickers on them and can cause harm if viewers wear them while looking at the sun.

RELATED: How to View the Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes

If you want to watch the eclipse, protect your peepers by purchasing the real deal. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has put out a list of reputable sellers to ensure your glasses are up to snuff. You still can buy your shades on Amazon, but be sure to choose from a storefront that has the seal of approval. Try an AAS–approved store, like Avenues of the Sky. Other approved retailers on Amazon include Soluna or Mega-Fun Toys. View the full AAS list for more options.

There's just a week left before this spectacular solar phenomenon, so if you don't get the approved specs in time, play it safe by watching it indoors on TV or via a webcast, where your eyes are not in danger of racking up damage.

And no, your regular sunglasses are not a safe substitute for eclipse glasses. "Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun (fact: special-purpose solar filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses)," states the AAS website.