RICHMOND, Va. -- Excitement is building for the August 21 solar eclipse over North America. It has been nearly 100 years since a total eclipse moved from coast to coast across the United States. This one will be unique, as it travels more than 3,000 miles over land, where tens of millions of Americans will be able to view it, a vast difference from many eclipses that occur over oceans or remote regions of the Earth.
That has made it difficult for some, who did not plan ahead, to find glasses to adequately protect their eyes in order to safely view the eclipse.
"It's tempting to want to look at the sun during this exciting solar eclipse, but even a brief amount of sun to the eye can cause permanent or temporary vision loss," ophthalmologist Dr. Joseph Iuorno said. "I think the problem is people will be entranced and they'll just stare at it cause they've never seen it before and that's when you'll get caught with the sun causing damage to your eye."
Regular sunglasses won't cut it. You need very specialized filtered glasses that block both ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
"You should avoid looking at the sun to avoid permanent or temporary vision loss. Very important not to look at the sun, because it can damage your retina which is the main reason we see," Dr. Iuorno said. "Parents please watch your kids because your kids are going to want to look at this and they don't know not to look at the sun."
CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns made calls around town Tuesday to figure out who has glasses and who is sold out.
Toys R Us
Target locations (although they said they never sold them)
Richmond libraries (were handing them out, but are now out)
Participating 7-Eleven stores
Henrico libraries will hand out a limited supply on the day of the eclipse beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Chesterfield libraries set up stations where people can create their own “pinhole viewers”
Walmart-- Sales of products related to the solar eclipse have shot up sharply in the final week before Aug. 21, but especially ISO 12312-2 Certified solar safety glasses. Every Walmart store is different in terms of how much stock they received, so we encourage customers to call ahead to stores to ensure they have the certified glasses in stock before traveling to a store. If they are in stock, the glasses are just $1 or a “Get Eclipsed” guidebook with solar glasses included is only $3.47 at Walmart.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.