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Eclipse Glasses Providers Issue Recalls, Suggest You ‘Seek Other Options’

August 18, 2017, 2:10 PM UTC

With the solar eclipse just three days away, some organizations have discovered that the protective glasses they’ve been handing out may not offer adequate protection.

Richland County, S.C.—where state capital Columbia is located—has given out roughly 5,000 pairs of free eclipse glasses with questionable certification. The county maintains the glasses maker has been reviewed by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and meets the safety standard spelled out by the organization. However, Everything Branded, the New York-based company from which the glasses were purchased, is not on the AAS’s list of “reputable vendors.”

A county spokesperson told local media there are no plans for a recall, but the county is suggesting people “seek other options” if they have concerns. “Richland County wants residents to feel confident about the safety of the glasses they wear for eclipse viewing and encourages members of the public who have concerns to seek other options for eclipse glasses,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has an eclipse crisis of its own, recalling 8,000 pairs of glasses that were distributed at the Williamson County Fair after the original manufacturer of the glasses “was unable to verify that it had produced the glasses” for the third-party that sold them, the center said in a statement. “In an abundance of caution, VUMC chose to recall and replace the glasses.”

Both cases of potentially unauthorized eyewear are especially significant, as both Nashville (where VUMC is located) and Columbia are in the path of the totality and are expecting a flood of tourists.

Counterfeit solar eclipse glasses have been a growing problem in the past couple months. Amazon (AMZN) is issuing refunds for pairs it sold that did not comply with industry standards.

Finding glasses that will truly protect your eyes at this point is a challenge. Shortages are rampant and prices for solar eclipse glasses have skyrocketed in recent days.