PORTLAND, Ore. - With less than a week until the total solar eclipse, time is running out to get a pair of safe eclipse viewing glasses.
Doctors say looking at the sun without them could permanently damage your eyes. The only exception to that is if you look at the eclipse during its two minutes of totality, which you can only do if you’re watching the eclipse from its path of totality.
After an Amazon recall on many eclipse glasses, people in the Portland metro area were scrambling to find safe glasses to view the eclipse.
The Amazon recall impacted the most buyers, but other retailers and organizations in the Portland metro area were also recalling their eclipse glasses because they could not guarantee safety:
City of Lake Oswego
Alberta Eye Care
West Linn Library
Bush Barn Art Center in Salem
Legacy Health - Legacy Health recalled glasses it distributed at public health events due to the Amazon recall. Solar glasses Legacy distributed at clinic locations are safe to use.
If you know of other local retailers recalling eclipse glasses, contact KGW here.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry stocked about 15,000 pairs of solar glasses and by Monday afternoon, they had sold almost all of them. OMSI was restocking over the week.
“I've been looking for the eclipse glasses and couldn't find them so I figured OMSI would have them,” said OMSI gift store customer Shelby Smith. “Luckily they had some left!”
OMSI’s glasses meet safety requirements set by the International Safety Organization, unlike a lot of counterfeit glasses sold online.
“We're finding that people who have found the counterfeits, put them on and the sun is way too bright,” said Jim Todd, OMSI’s Director of Space Science Education.
Todd suggested looking for the ISO logo on the glasses ear piece and an approved manufacturer’s name above the nose. He said it’s important to avoid third party sellers like websites and street vendors. The American Astronomical Society said to verify safety, make sure the manufacturer and seller are both approved by AAS.
The Space Science Institute donated 2 million pairs of safe solar eclipse glasses to libraries across the country, including those in Multnomah County.
“We're lucky to have these,” said Shawn Cunningham, director of communication for Multnomah County Library. “They’re free to anyone who comes into the library while supplies last and unfortunately, most of them are gone already.”
Multnomah County was completely out of glasses by Thursday.
Some eye clinics such as Eyes on You in downtown Portland have small supplies of safe eclipse glasses. Eyes on You said they had about 20 pairs that they purchased from the state optometric physicians association as of Tuesday morning. They were selling the glasses for $2 each.
Pro Photo Supply still has a couple hundred eclipse glasses for sale, for $14.99 each. (Update: Pro Photo is sold out.)
Fred Meyer was selling certified safe eclipse glasses, but store employees said all glasses sold out in the Portland metro area following the Amazon recall.
To find eclipse glasses, your best bet is to call around before going to stores.
Doctors say people planning to look at the sun through binoculars, a camera or a telescope will need eclipse-specific solar filters to protect their eyes.
“Anytime you're using an extra optic in front of your eyes to view the eclipse, there needs to be a separate device,” said Kristen Schmiedeskamp with Providence Medical Group.“You can still damage your eyes if you utilize one of those devices while wearing the appropriate eyewear.”
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