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2017 Eclipse Blog / FAQ

Can I wear eclipse glasses over my regular eyeglasses?

Yes, you can certainly put them over regular eyeglasses, as I myself do!

The reality is that these “eclipse glasses” are really solar filters, and are designed to be used for only a brief time, as you glance at the partial phases to check on the progress of the eclipse – and be able to actually participate in the excitement as the partial phase grows – toward totality! People will simply hold them over their eyes for a few seconds, to get a view of the partially-eclipsed Sun, and then turn away from the Sun after so many seconds of looking at the eclipse’s progress.

The glasses themselves look like regular old pieces of cardboard, but what they contain as “lenses” is VERY specific, scientifically-designed solar filter material (which conforms to the ISO specification intended to regulate material which allows for safe direct solar viewing!).  If you think of them as filters which let you look at the Sun safely (which they ARE), rather than “glasses” to be worn like regular sunglasses (which they ARE NOT!), then you’ll get the picture.

They are NOT to be worn while walking around, or driving, or doing any other activities – they are simply too dark!


So do as I do, and simply hold them in place over your regular eyeglasses!  They will protect your eyes for the few seconds that you look at the partial phases.  And you can do that over and over and over again, as the partial phase deepens.  If you don’t have them, you can ONLY see the partial phases by using a method like projection.

You will NOT use them for the total phase of the eclipse – only for the partial phases. 

Here’s the rule:  If ANY PART of the Sun’s bright disk is still visible, you MUST use the eclipse glasses.

If you look directly at the Sun without eye protection,
and it is not being TOTALLY eclipsed,
then you WILL damage your eyes.


Uh-uh! The Sun isn’t totally covered – you HAVE to use eye protection!

Once the eclipse is total (which means, you are IN THE PATH of totality, and the Moon is COMPLETELY covering the Sun), then you will not be able to see anything if you try to use the eclipse glasses – they’re too dark!

Totality!  No filters needed!
(But you only see this if you’re IN THE PATH!)

At this time ONLY, you can look at the totally-eclipsed Sun safely, without any eye protection.  WHY?  Because the Sun is being totally covered up!  There’s nothing dangerous to look at, that you might have otherwise needed eye protection for!

But the second that you see the Diamond Ring, once the total phase is over – then you need to once again use the eclipse glasses to protect your eyes – because the Sun is then no longer totally eclipsed!

Diamond Ring! – Use eye protection again immediately!

Please see our very detailed eclipse viewing instructions page (available in MANY languages!) to get more details on this!  Eye safety is CRITICAL – so get educated!  And enjoy the eclipse SAFELY!


63 Responses to “Can I wear eclipse glasses over my regular eyeglasses?”

  1. melissa georgiou says:

    Glad you have these glasses. Here’s a poem I wrote about the Solar Eclipse

    Hail the dark sun.
    Cloaked in heavens and crowned in gold
    Blinding those who boldly behold
    Its Beauty.

  2. Chris says:

    I’ve been really disappointed, and actually surprised at the utter absence of options as far as I can tell so far, for those who wear glasses. I’ve tried putting on the cardboard ones over my glasses and it’s ridiculous and obviously unsafe — you can’t wear them nearly close enough to your face, so you get a lot of light leakage around the edges — you have to make sure you’re looking directly toward the sun or you may get sunlight in your eyes. The other option would be to take off your own glasses so you can wear the solar viewing glasses properly, and then see the event as a blur.

    How difficult would it be for someone out there to make solar viewing glasses in a design like safety glasses, that go over normal eyeglasses so those of us without perfect vision have something convenient and safe to wear? I’m amazed there is nothing like this, even searching on Amazon. It’s not like it would be a small market — millions of people wear glasses to correct their vision!!

    I may try to hack something out of some chemistry-type goggles (since they have a flat lens), some black spraypaint and some plain solar viewing film.

    • Admin says:

      Chris –

      I’ve worn eyeglasses my entire life, and have seen 12 total eclipses using glasses of this type to protect my eyes each time. I have never once had any kind of problem holding the lens material over my regular eyeglasses. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are going to “wear” these glasses for any extended length of time. You are going to first decide that you are going to take a look at the partially eclipsed Sun, then you are going to hold the eclipse glasses up to your eyes, in front of your eyeglasses, protecting your eyes. You are going to look for a few seconds. Then you will turn your eyes away from the Sun and then remove the eclipse glasses. A few minutes later, you might decide to do this again, to see how much progress the Moon has made.

      You don’t need to go to a lot of trouble. In fact, I’d suggest using that time to securely attach a string to the end of each temple of the glasses. That way you can wear them around your neck and they’ll be handy any time you want to take a look!

      Clear Skies,

  3. Sherry Keil says:

    I wear glasses. I was trying to find a way to view with binoculars. I know i can buy solar binoculars, and i might end up having to spend that money — but I need two of them! One for me, one for my spouse. But I see there is a cardboard-type folding binocular product like the glasses. But I imagine that won’t be great putting the cardboard binoculars over my glasses, and I can only assume there’s no way to “focus” the cardboard binoculars. Is there some option out there I’m missing? Thanks.

    • Admin says:

      Sherry –
      The ONLY way you can EVER use binoculars to view the eclipse is:

      1) During totality (and if you don’t know when that is, please do NOT ever try it!)
      2) If you have certified solar filters over both the objectives.

      You CANNOT use the regular solar viewing glasses with any other optical device – as stated in the instructions printed on the glasses themselves. Please don’t gamble your eyesight!

      If you have any questions, please follow up with a comment. Thanks!


  4. stig says:

    I can see why these are needed – for anyone trying to do anything else at the same time e.g.. take photos , keep kids in line etc.

    I agree with first commentator that trying to get eclipse viewers over glasses has its risks.

    • Admin says:

      Hi –

      If you are “wearing” them, then I agree. If you are simply holding them over your existing glasses, then you will be fine. So long as you are never looking at the Sun without the protective lenses while it is not totally eclipsed, that is all you need.

      It is very easy to overthink this. ANY TIME that ANY portion of the Sun is visible, you CANNOT look at it unless you are looking through certified eye protection – irrespective of whether you also happen to have corrective lenses in the optical path between the Sun and your eyes!


  5. Claudia says:

    Are these made in china? Not sure i would trust them if so

    • Admin says:

      Claudia –

      If they were made in China, we would not trust them either! That’s why we have described (on the order page) that they are MADE IN THE USA! Rainbow Symphony and American Paper Optics are our suppliers, and these companies are on the NASA-approved list of eclipse glasses manufacturers. Glasses sold by meet all the ISO and CE standards, so you can be 100% sure of the quality. Just be sure to follow all of the instructions, and use them to protect your eyes during all the partial phases of the eclipse! It sounds like a cliche, but these are the glasses I personally use – and so nothing less than that is acceptable for our customers! Eye safety is the most important thing there is, so thanks very much for the question!


  6. Roland says:


    I have some eclipse glasses I used for the 2012 Venus Transit. I did not store them very well. The paper got torn, but the dark part that you look through is intact. Is it safe to use these glasses for the Eclipse? Is it possible that there could be a tear in the dark part that I haven’t noticed? Are the glasses safe to use if there are any creases in the dark part as long as you don’t see an actual tear?

    Thank you.

    • Admin says:

      We would not recommend using any glasses whose lenses have been creased. New ones are simply too cheap, and the risk is too great!

  7. Wes says:

    Will it work if you put on the eclipse glasses first and then put you eyeglasses over the top of them? Wouldn’t this then keep the eclipse glasses tighter up against your eyes and then not be blurry? Just a thought that Might work.

    • Admin says:

      I suppose you could do that if you want, though the Sun’s rays will be going through the Rx lenses first. I would actually recommend holding the eclipse glasses over your regular glasses. So long as you always are looking through the eclipse glasses at the Sun. It’s just that that’s not how I’ve seen most people end up using them!


    • Gentry says:

      A possible concern with having your glasses on the outside of the filter glasses is that, depending on the optical properties of your lenses, you could be amplifying the light hitting the filter glasses. Maybe not harmful in the case of most people’s glasses, but you *definitely cannot* wear the filter glasses and then use (unfiltered) binoculars or a telescope on the outside of the filter glasses. The binoculars/telescope collect too much light and will permanently damage your eyes, even with the filter glasses on.

      • Admin says:

        Gentry – You are absolutely correct about not using the eclipse glasses with any optical device. I have posed the other question to the eclipse community to come up with a definitive answer, and will follow up as soon as I have a response. (Meanwhile, put the eclipse glasses on the OUTSIDE of your Rx lenses, so the Sun’s rays go through the eclipse glasses first. This is a great question – thanks!


        • Stewart says:

          Any news on the thread about whether or not it is safe to wear the eclipse glasses underneath your prescription eye glasses? Really curious about that. My glasses are almost the size of half of my face and I wonder if trying to cover them with those small eclipse glasses would be more dangerous than wearing them underneath. Thanks

          • Admin says:

            We have a blog post on that. So long as you are ensuring that you look through the eclipse glasses at the Sun, you will be OK. If you really can’t make it work with both them and your regular glasses, please use a method like projection to watch the partial phases.

  8. Jeff says:

    Perhaps this was asked (or mentioned in the blog post), but I quickly scanned thru the article and jumped right into the comments section, so here it goes and I apologize in advance…

    Instead of using paper/cardboard eclipse glasses, would it be safe to use a welder’s mask or welders goggles that fit over one’s eyewear instead?

    • Admin says:

      Jeff –
      I have been informed by those in the know, that you can use welder’s glasses at or above #15 ONLY – and it cannot be the type that “auto-darkens” – because that does not darken fast enough to provide the safety your eyes need.
      Glasses are easier and cheaper, and they don’t break if you drop them!

      Clear Skies,

  9. Karen says:

    Are these glasses one size fits all? I am ordering some for children.

    • Admin says:

      They are one size. The manufacturer only recommends use by young children with constant, direct adult supervision. Best possibly to take turns, having the adult ensure that the lenses are held correctly in front of the eyes. Procedure would be the same as for adults: Put the glasses in front of your eyes, tilt your head and look up at the Sun through the lenses, then keeping the glasses in place, tilt the head down again and look away from the Sun, then and only then remove the lenses from the eyes. At all times, the lenses have to be between your eyes and the Sun! No cheating!


  10. Gary J says:

    Can you use these to look at the sun when there isn’t a solar eclipse? Just to look at the sun?

    • Admin says:

      Yes, but you have to ensure that they do not become damaged. Also, there is no known lifetime for the filter material – so the glasses sells are only for use during the 2017 eclipse.

  11. David says:

    On the page you say”They [the eclipse glasses] will protect your eyes for the few seconds that you look at the partial phases. And you can do that over and over and over again,”

    Is there a reason I can only look for a few seconds? Could I use these glasses to look at the partial eclipse for 30 seconds continuously? A minute? Are other glasses different in this regard?


    • Admin says:

      Hi David –

      The glasses should be fine for up to a couple minutes or so. In 12 total eclipses, I have never seen anyone stare at the Sun using them for that period of time. Rainbow Symphony does not offer any information, and American Paper Optics suggests not to use them for an “extended” period. You can listen to what Dr. Ralph Chou (the world’s leading expert on eclipse eye safety – the gentleman wrote WROTE the ISO standard, and whose lab certifies each company’s products) has to say on the subject on our Roundtable eye safety page:


  12. Lisa says:

    Is it possible to buy a small sheet of protective lens to hold in front of my glasses, instead of holding the eclipse glasses in front of my glasses? It seems like that would be easier and safer.


    • Admin says:

      You can look for that material on the Internet if you like, certainly. In 12 total eclipses, I’ve always held the glasses over my glasses and it has been fine. Just a suggestion!


      • Kimberly says:

        There are clip-on eclipse glasses available online. I don’t know if they are the best quality or not. I don’t want to spend the money on them, so I’m just going to follow your suggestions for using the cheap ones and holding them over my glasses.

  13. Lisa S. says:

    Hi Dan,

    First, thank you for all your info and advice! Do I correctly deduce that it’s safe to look through properly ISO certified viewing glasses, such as the ones discussed here, and take a picture with an unfiltered phone camera?

    I assume it’s unsafe to use viewing glasses and unfiltered binoculars (or unfiltered regular camera lenses) b/c the binoculars (and lenses) magnify the UV rays as well as visible light and need different/stronger filtering than direct viewing (or am I off here?). However, when viewing a phone’s screen, we’re only viewing a projected/produced image, so using viewing glasses and a phone camera would be safe. Or is my understanding of optics and phone cameras way off :-).

    Thanks so much!


    • Admin says:

      You are correct – NEVER look at the eclipse through any type of optical device while you have the glasses on! I think it is up to you whether to try and take pictures with an unfiltered cell phone. Totality, sure (if you can get it to focus) – but the partial phases might be too bright for the camera’s screen/sensors.


  14. Barbara Mathews says:

    Thank you for providing the Q&A’s you received. I really like the app, too. I don’t live in the path of totality but I am just as excited to see the partial.
    I always think of the Bing Crosby movie, “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. I yell out “Walla Walla, Washington” whenever the shadow starts to recede. It is a great line! 🙂
    Counting down the days,

  15. Lea Ann says:

    I am also trying to find a solution to the Rx glasses issue. I purchased a set on Amazon that contained 3 plastic sets of glasses and 9 paper ones. Claimed to be ISO compliant. But when it arrived they are made in China and its freaking me out a little. (First time eclipse for me!). So just now I ordered a set of 5 “cards” from Amazon made by thousand oaks. Its a flat card with a rectangular “lens” . you just hold them. I thought it might be easier to get a good fit. I figure I’ll punch a hole in the corner and attach a lanyard so I don’t drop or lose them. I really wanted glasses for hands free. I have a remote for the camera as I want to enjoy the view. I’m not sure of any other way to rig glasses and still be safe.

  16. Laura says:

    Hi there,

    I just purchased 3 pairs of your solar eclipse safety glasses. I have worn regular glasses since I was about 10. I only remember one eclipse in my lifetime, and not sure how I viewed that. Taking no chances, I ordered your glasses.

    SO excited 🙂 thanks for having these for sale in the U.S.A.

  17. Carole says:

    I bought two pairs of the eclipse glasses at Lowe’s a few nights ago. I wear glasses so now I’m kind of afraid to use the eclipse glasses in front of them. I just am scared to risk eye damage
    I’ll just have to be satisfied looking at photos taken if it after the event 🙁

  18. Mary Fischer says:

    I have a question about eyeglasses that are not normal. I have a 3° prism ground into both lenses to correct double vision. Would the prisms focus too much of the sun’s rays on my retinas?
    Thank you.

  19. Natalie says:

    This may seem like a dumb question, but……can you just wear your regular sunglasses that day? And you only need to wear the glasses when you are looking directly at the sun, correct?

    • Admin says:

      Not at all. In my 12 total eclipses, I always have sunglasses on for looking around and normal activities. But NEVER look at the Sun without looking through certified eclipse glasses! Sunglasses are fine for looking at what’s around you, but NOT for looking directly at the Sun!

  20. Jean says:

    I was attending a lecture about the 2017 total solar eclipse at the Hayden Planetarium in New York a little over a year ago. I
    received some rainbow symphony eclipse viewers from them and have never used them.
    I’m concerned whether they’re still good. Do these viewers have an expiration date? Thanks!

    • Admin says:

      If it’s only been a year, and they have been kept in good condition, then you should be fine so long as you follow the instructions for use!

  21. Bryan says:

    I just received my purchase of Celestron Power Viewers ( and I’m wondering if these are safe to use over glasses. They’re 2x magnified so I’m wondering if holding them in front of my glasses is safe.

    • Admin says:

      Please do not use ANY of these with eclipse glasses! The eclipse glasses are designed to be used ONLY with your naked eyes.


  22. Heidi Rection says:

    instead of wearing eyeglasses, would it be safe to wear contact lenses along with eclipse glasses to view the eclipse?

    does wearing a baseball cap further protect your eyes?

    • Admin says:

      You may wear contact lenses with the eclipse glasses, yes.

      Regarding a baseball cap – there is no connection between a baseball cap and viewing of a solar eclipse. You must use certified eye protection to view the partial phases of an eclipse.

  23. Mukss says:


    My question is that, the solar eclipse glasses tend to be loose, for kids, I see that a safety issue? Is there a way we can keep the glasses tight?

    When the phenomenon starts, do we wear glasses for that entire duration on and off when looking at the sun? Is it okay to be outside and look down on the ground but not look up with our eyes?

    • Admin says:

      The eclipse glasses are only used to look at the Sun for brief periods during the partial phases. Most people just hold them to their eyes, tilt their head back and look up at the Sun, and then tilt their had back down away from the Sun and remove the glasses. You don’t really “wear” the glasses for an extended period. And, you should always hold them in place over your eyes so they don’t blow away unexpectedly!

  24. Debbie says:

    What would be the better option underneath the protective eclipse glasses, regular prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses or does it not matter?

    • Admin says:

      Rx sunglasses might actually be too dark! I use my regular Rx eyeglasses under the eclipse glasses, and do just fine!

  25. Zsa says:

    Can you wear tanning bed goggles instead?

  26. Which side towards face or does it matter. Notice side with illustration is mirrored and other is not. My guess would be mirrored side out to reflect rays first.
    Thanks and hoping for clear skies in Wildwood, MO!

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