3 On Your Side

Viewing the solar eclipse: The blind truth

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And if you don't buy solar eclipse glasses that are approved, you could have a big problem. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) And if you don't buy solar eclipse glasses that are approved, you could have a big problem. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
You have to make sure there's an ISO certification printed on the inside of the solar glasses which basically means they're approved and safe to view the eclipse. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) You have to make sure there's an ISO certification printed on the inside of the solar glasses which basically means they're approved and safe to view the eclipse. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
If you use glasses not approved to view the eclipse, you can permanently damage your eyes in a matter of seconds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) If you use glasses not approved to view the eclipse, you can permanently damage your eyes in a matter of seconds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dr. Sky says don't get ripped off when looking to buy a pair. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. Sky says don't get ripped off when looking to buy a pair. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

They look like 3-D glasses that you use at the movies but they're not. They are special glasses to view the eclipse. And if you don't buy ones that are approved, you could have a big problem.

"As you can see, that yellow band that goes across the United States is the path of totality," Steven Kates said.

Kates has been involved in astronomy for three decades and is known in the Valley as "Dr. Sky." So, 3 On Your Side wanted to get his thoughts on the upcoming eclipse.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Total solar eclipse 2017]

"So many people may be getting the wrong information even at this late hour," Dr. Sky said.

To view the eclipse safely, you need a special filter. There are filters made for binoculars and telescopes. We even used one on our camera.

But the key is you should have protective eyewear and that's why manufacturers are busy cranking out safety glasses for interested consumers. But you have to get a very specific kind.

"They're called ISO 12312-2," Dr. Sky said.

[RELATED: How to avoid buying "bogus" solar eclipse glasses]

You have to make sure there's an ISO certification printed on the inside of the solar glasses which basically means they're approved and safe to view the eclipse. However, Dr. Sky says don't get ripped off when looking to buy a pair.

"There may be the possibility of fake, and I use that word generally, fake solar glasses," Dr. Sky said.

And according to the American Astronomical Society, some companies are trying to trick consumers by printing the ISO icon on "fake solar glasses."

"Shame on them," Dr. Sky said. 

[RELATED: Majestic places to view solar eclipse in AZ]

If you use glasses not approved to view the eclipse, you can permanently damage your eyes in a matter of seconds.

"That's true, even just a casual glance or if you're wearing the solar eclipse glasses but they fall off, even that can be really damaging," Dr. Anita Schadlu said.

[READ MORE: How to keep your eyes protected, avoid scams during solar eclipse]

Schadlu is a retina specialist here in the Valley.

She says a person who looks at the solar eclipse without the proper eyewear puts themselves at risk for something called solar retinopathy.

"This yellow spot right here shows someone who has damage from solar retinopathy or staring at the sun, and you can imagine that would cause a blind spot right in the center of the vision," Dr. Schadlu said.

And Dr. Schadlu says the severity of the damage can vary.

"The degree of damage really just depends on how long somebody looks at the solar eclipse for even a few seconds can cause permanent damage," Dr. Schadlu said.

Click here for information from NASA about reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers.

And for additional information regarding the Solar Eclipse visit NASA 

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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