Update: Make ICT, the Science Education Center and CD Tradepost report being out of glasses. Callers to The Wichita Eagle have indicated that other locations listed in this article are also sold out.
Solar eclipse glasses are selling fast – but you still have time to get your pair before the moon passes over the sun next week.
Looking at the sun without proper eye protection can cause serious damage, even blindness, said Gordon Wiens, administrator at Lentz Eye Care.
“It’s never good to look at the sun with the naked eye in any situation, and the solar eclipse is no different,” Wiens said. “You always need to have some kind of eye protection. This just happens to be one time where everyone’s going to want to look at the sun to see the eclipse happen.”
Lentz Eye Care gave away 200 pairs of solar eclipse glasses, running out two business days after the announcement.
Shoppers will want to make sure they buy glasses that are safe, particularly if purchasing online. Amazon issued a recall for some solar eclipse glasses Saturday, saying they may not have met ISO standards.
Here are some tips to ensure you’re wearing a pair of certified glasses:
- Certified glasses will say that they meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard (although some counterfeit glasses are also labeled as ISO compliant)
- If you can see a regular florescent light through the glasses, then they aren’t dark enough.
- NASA recommends buying glasses from just five companies: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
Several Wichita stores are sold out of the glasses, but these locations still had the glasses in stock Monday:
- Johnson’s Garden Center (2702 W. 13th St. and 6225 E. Shadybrook) had glasses available at $1.99 each.
- Some Dillons locations (3932 W 13th St., 2244 N. Rock, 8828 W. 13th St., 4747 S. Broadway) had glasses available for $1.99 each. Other Dillons locations reported being sold out.
- Some Wal-Mart locations (2111 N. Amidon, 3137 S. Seneca, 6110 W. Kellogg Drive) had glasses for $1 each or $3.37 for a pair with a book. Other locations were sold out.
- Kays This N That (4625 W. Central) posted on Facebook that they had 34 glasses available as of Friday afternoon, at $2.50 each
- Some Ace Hardware locations (2449 W. 13th St. and 2559 S. Seneca) had glasses available for $2.99 each. The 410 N. Hillside location reported being sold out.
- The Science Education Center (2730 Boulevard Plaza) had pairs for $2.99 each.
- Some CD Tradepost locations (8821 W. 21st St. and 7900 E. Harry) had glasses available for $3.99 each or three for $10.
- MakeICT had about 50 pairs left Monday morning, with donations accepted.
Toys “R” Us” and Lawrence Photo Print & Frame both reported being sold out Monday.
Some Wichita locations plan to give away a limited number of glasses on the day of the eclipse.
- The first 500 people at Exploration Place’s eclipse event will receive glasses. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum, 300 N. McLean Blvd.
- Citizens Bank of Kansas will have watch parties at its six locations from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Free eclipse glasses will be available while supplies last.
- The Wichita Public Library plans to give away about 100 pairs at the ICT Pop-Up Park (121 E. Douglas) on the day of the eclipse.
Lake Afton Public Observatory director Harold Henderson and the Kansas Astronomical Observers’ Fred Gassert spoke to about 20 people on Saturday about how to safely view the eclipse in and outside the path of totality. Here are some tips:
- Protective glasses should be used when looking at the partial eclipse, even with cloud cover. “You’re never going to be able to look at it without protection,” Henderson said.
- Check your glasses for any scratches or holes. Throw them out if they’re already damaged and get new ones.
- Practice using protective glasses before the Aug. 21 eclipse, Henderson said. “If it’s sunny outside at noon, 5 in the afternoon, a little before sunset, consider taking your eclipse viewers, putting them on, looking at the sun (to) see what to expect.”
- Use your hands to hold your glasses in place as you crane your head toward the sun, in case they become unsettled or a gust of wind blows them off your face.
- Put a filter on your camera “or you’re just going to ruin it,” Gassert said. Or forget about taking pictures and focus on experiencing it, since there will be hundreds of photos taken across the country.
- Don’t use binoculars to look at the partial eclipse with protective glasses. The binoculars will magnify that light, melt the lenses and then damage your eye, Gassertsaid.
- If you’re in the path of totality, you can tell totality is reached when you can no longer see any sunlight through your glasses. Henderson said it’s best to “wait a few more seconds” before taking off your glasses. You should only do that if you’re in the path of totality when the sun is completely covered.
- Put glasses back on shortly before totality ends. “It’s the safe thing to not be the first one to look at total and not be the last one to look at it,” Gassert said.
There will be another presentation on solar eclipse safety from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Lake Afton Public Observatory, 25000 West 39th St. South, Goddard. A pack of materials, including eclipse glasses and a filter, is $8.