Eclipse glasses. stock image

With the total solar eclipse only 11 days away, lots of people have procured eclipse glasses to protect their eyes while viewing the eclipse on April 8.





Eclipse glasses have been available at multiple locations around The Valley including stores and shops as well as libraries and town offices. The Moretown and Warren libraries had glasses available this week as did the Fayston town office.

To understand what eclipse glasses should do and how to know if they are safe, The Valley Reporter reached out to Dr. Shannon Mitchell at Mad River Eyecare in Waitsfield.

Here’s what he had to say.

“First of all, solar eclipse glasses are important for eclipse viewing to protect your eyes. The direct exposure of the intense and concentrated light emitted by the sun can cause harm to the delicate nerve tissue in the inside of our eyes called the retina. Our eyes focus light to a part of the retina called the macula which is the very center of our vision. Direct exposure to the sun's light can damage the macula which can influence our central detailed vision. This is true of the sun all the time, not just when there is an eclipse,” Mitchell explained.

Here is how to check and see if eclipse glasses are safe.

“First of all, look for glasses that are on the approved list specified by the American Astronomical Society. Most eclipse glasses manufactured in the U.S. meet the rigorous guidelines that the AAS uses. That list can be found at:, Mitchell said.

“If you can't find the manufacturer of your glasses on this list, here are some steps you can take to make sure your glasses are safe:

1. First, try them on indoors. You should not be able to see anything through them, except perhaps very bright lights, which should be very faint. If you can see any hint of regular household furnishings or pictures on the wall, consider the glasses unsafe.

2. If the glasses pass the first test, try them outside on a sunny day, but DON'T look at the sun yet. You still shouldn’t be able to see much except perhaps the sun’s reflection off of shiny surfaces like a puddle, or the snow.

3. Take a quick glance at the sun for less than a second. You should be able to see a sharp-edged round disk which is the sun's visible 'face'. This should be comfortably bright, and not overwhelming. The sun may appear white, bluish white, yellow, or orange, depending on the type of filter in the glasses. If your glance shows this distinct round disk and is not overwhelming or doesn't feel too bright, then your glasses should be OK to use,” he added.