Can I use my old eclipse glasses?
Let’s take a look at some important considerations:
Every eclipse chaser has a box somewhere that’s full of eclipse glasses from previous eclipses. It’s guaranteed to happen, because your eclipse glasses are a wonderful memento of that special time you spent in the shadow of the Moon!
Every time there’s another eclipse, we go to our own box of old glasses and wonder whether we should use them – or just buy new ones. Here’s what we think about:
- Do we know where our glasses are?
- Have the glasses expired since we got them?
- Have the glasses been stored in a way that protects them?
- Do the glasses meet current safety standards?
- Do I need more glasses than I have on hand?
- How much would it cost to buy new glasses?
Let’s consider each of these questions in a bit more detail:
Can I find my old glasses?
You’re on your own on this one! We can’t really help you find them. 😏
Have the glasses expired?
This is a tough question, because many people believe that certified products don’t “expire”. One of the major manufacturers doesn’t put an expiration date on their glasses, and the other manufacturer advises that their glasses expire after three years. There are good arguments to be made either way, but the bottom line is that if you want to be completely certain, then you have to go with what the manufacturer of your glasses has printed on them. The MUCH more important consideration is always going to be:
Have the glasses been safely stored?
Let’s think about it. You used these glasses at the last eclipse, and so you probably sweat all over them, you folded them up, you bent them, you put them in and out of your pocket or purse. They might have gotten food or water spilled on them. And then after the eclipse, they probably got thrown in your luggage or the trunk or the back seat of the car. You got home and eventually you found them and put them… somewhere. Did they go back in the sleeve or the tube or box you got them in? Have they been kept in a climate-controlled environment? Are you certain they haven’t acquired any scratches, creases, or (even worse) tiny pinholes in them? Remember, any damage at all will make them unsafe to use, and so this is a huge consideration for the safety of your eyes. As “professional” eclipse chasers, we all have glasses from many eclipses ago, but we keep them as souvenirs and don't reuse them for subsequent eclipses, even if we think we've stored them properly.
Do the glasses meet current safety standards?
The ONLY glasses that should ever be used to observe an eclipse are glasses that meet the ISO safety standard. The ISO standard was published in 2015, and it is not expected to be updated before 2024. This should therefore not be an issue – but we have to be certain. We at eclipse2024.org are in contact with the lab that certifies eclipse glasses, and we will stay on top of this for you. If anything changes (and remember, it’s not supposed to), we will be on top of letting you know about it!
Do you need more glasses?
Maybe you need more glasses this time, because you have more people to buy for. Maybe you want to get some for people that might have trouble getting them on their own. Maybe you just want to have a new souvenir for this upcoming eclipse! In any case, this is a decision you’ll want to make, and the good news is…
How much do they cost?
Not a lot! Yes, there were all kinds of stories about price-gouging during the 2017 eclipse, but you can shield yourself from that worry if you buy your glasses early.
How early is “early”? Well, in 2017 the demand really started picking up with about a year to go until the eclipse. If you wait until three months before the eclipse, then the price will definitely have gone up and they will start being scarce. If you wait till the last month, you will get whatever you can get, and the price will be what it is (unless you get them from Eclipse2024.org – in which case you will ALWAYS get the most fair price possibly available!). On eclipse weekend, all bets were off – literally!
So we’d say to get them any time up until about maybe 4-6 months left until eclipse day. If you are at all concerned about price, then the earlier you get them, the better!!
So, should I get new glasses to replace my old ones?
Unless your old glasses are past their expiration date, have been damaged (even slightly), and have been stored safely since you last used them, you can probably re-use them. But it's much safer to just buy new ones. The new ones meet the current safety standards, they're available, they're new, and they're cheap!
Whatever you decide, please make sure you consider the importance of eye safety, and how simple it is to protect your eyes if you do it right!
If you do decide to use your old eclipse glasses (or even if you decide to get new ones!), please make sure you follow all the Instructions for Use of the Eclipse Glasses that we’ve published. If you decide to be like us, and get new ones for every eclipse, then please head on over to our glasses ordering page and…
Eclipse2024.org wishes everyone “Clear Skies” on eclipse day!