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Eclipse safety emphasized as special glasses run out, doctors urge caution

Doctors stress the importance of eclipse safety as the special glasses run out
Doctors stress the importance of eclipse safety as the special glasses run out 02:45

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eclipse glasses are going fast, people are stocking up to be able to safely watch the solar eclipse that's happening Monday. Doctors say it's important that you get the right kind of protection.

The Philadelphia region won't have a total eclipse — the moon will cover 90% of the sun — but it's still important to have certified glasses if you're going to watch.


The scramble is on to find the special glasses to watch the solar eclipse.

"It's never safe to look at the sun during any period of time without protecting your eyes because the light coming off the sun can burn the retina. And it can lead to a permanent problem with your vision," Dr. Kammi Gunton, an ophthalmologist at Wills Eye, said.

It's critical to wear special-purpose solar filter glasses with an ISO seal that are certified with the number: 12312-2.

"When you put them on, you can put them on over your correction if you wear glasses, and they have to completely cover your eyes," Gunton said.

RELATED: Where to find safe solar eclipse glasses in the Philadelphia area

Certified solar eclipse glasses filter out nearly all visible light.

When you look through them, you should not be able to see anything but the sun itself, which will be very dim. And beware of fakes.

The American Astronomical Society says one or more unidentified factories in China are now producing counterfeit eclipse glasses.

Counterfeit pairs of eclipse safety glasses look very similar to the real thing. On the inside, it even has the correct number and the name of a legitimate American manufacturer.

An example of fake eclipse safety glasses. 

"We know that there are counterfeits, which may or may not be safe and we know that there are fakes, which I define as being unsafe," Rick Fienberg, of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force, said.

On its website, the American Astronomical Society lists authorized dealers that sell safe glasses.

But what about wearing sunglasses?

"Absolutely inappropriate. So sunglasses, they will not provide the protection that you need," Gunton said. "You'll have damage occur as if you didn't even wear the sunglasses."

Eclipse glasses are 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses.

Doctors say it's also not safe to watch the eclipse through your phone.

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