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Solar eclipse glasses find a second purpose through donations


With excitement from Monday’s solar eclipse still lingering, Diani Blanco is looking to share that once and a lifetime experience with others.

“We’re very lucky to have those glasses, but it’s not like everybody else in the world has access to it and I was just thinking, ‘oh my God, I wish I was a millionaire or something that I can just buy glasses and give it to everybody,’” she said.

The thought of how people around the world could also get the same experience first came to mind while on the way to solar eclipse activities with her two sons and she says it returned around 3 or 4 in the morning.

After a little research, she found Astronomers Without Borders, an organization that takes donated solar eclipse glasses.

All she needs now is a little help.

“We’re going to get everything together here and ship it to them so they can actually go and bring it to different countries like Africa, Asia, and beyond,” she explained.

“We have actually an elementary school from Quebec gathering everything, all the glasses, collecting everything and then shipping that to us so we can actually gather everything here and then in big boxes just ship it to Astronomers.”

Looking at two different brands of ISO-approved solar eclipse glasses there isn’t an obvious expiry date on them, but listed in small print under the “warning” section both say that they shouldn’t be worn after a specific time period.

One pair of glasses stated they should be discarded after three years and the other one stated five years.

“After the expiry date you run the risk of potentially them not working and you’re burning the inside of the retinas which can cause permeant vision loss to the central vision,” said Dr. Alexis Keeling, an optometrist and president of the New Brunswick Association of Optometrists.

She is also collecting donations at her office located inside CF Champlain mall in Dieppe and says a handful of other local optometry offices are doing the same.

“They’re donated to teachers, students and astronomy enthusiasts around the world so it’s a great opportunity for us, as New Brunswickers, to do what we do best and share,” she said.

“Approximately two times a year an eclipse happens in the world and there are regions where they can’t easily access these eclipse glasses, so please bring them in and share what you have.”

Keeling points out that any donated glasses should be undamaged and in the same condition that they were before Monday’s eclipse.

In 2025 there will be another partial eclipse in the area and while you’re 2024 glasses will still be valid if they aren’t damaged, Blano says it’s not about that.

“It’s about sharing this experience, this one in 2024, this moment with everybody else and in 2025 let’s do the same thing. It doesn’t matter, right? Let’s just keep doing that every solar eclipse, why not,” she said.

“Donating is something really important to do in our community, but it doesn’t stop just here so I think this is what we’re showing to the rest of the world.”

Blanco says she will be accepting donations until the end of May and although she doesn’t have a goal in mind, she is hoping to ship multiple boxes filled with glasses by the beginning of June.

People local to the Moncton area can drop off their glasses at 300 Dominion St.

Anyone interested in mailing in a donation can send them to Diani Blanco at 192 Gould St., Dieppe, N.B., E1A 1T9.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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