But some ECPs still have them.
Eyecare pros everwhere have been warning patients not to watch the upcoming solar eclipse without proper eyewear — but that eyewear is now hard to come by.
Reports from dozens of cities across the country indicate that many retailers have sold out of the special glasses.
For example, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans writes that stores such as Best Buy, Lowes and Walmart in that region have none left.
And the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, TN, reports that residents there, too, are having trouble finding the glasses. The local Rutherford Chamber of Commerce has sold over 6,000 pairs and has no more left — although it's expecting another shipment.
In some areas, eyecare practices are among the few places that still have the eyewear. Many ECPs have been handing out the glasses — along with eclipse safety tips — for free.
Dr. Michael Davis of Opti-Care in Eldersburg, MD, for example, said his practice is giving them to patients after their exam.
And Christine Howard, optician at Attleboro Vision Care in Norton, MA, said: "We have been giving out glasses in return for likes/check-ins on our social media pages. The demand has increased as we get closer to the eclipse date and many patients have informed me that they had tried to get eclipse glasses elsewhere and everyone was sold out. We've made several posts on our social media pages and shared links to the AOA about the importance of viewing the eclipse safely."
Her business still has the eyewear in stock "for the moment," she said.
Tanya Rogers, office manager at Mountain Eye Clinic in Dahlonega, GA, said her practice took a similar approach but is now sold out.
"We are in a totality area so its been crazy," she said.
Rogers added: "We get around 20 calls a day for them, plus walk-ins."
And Dr. Katie Robertson McElvaine of Springfield Family Vision in Springfield, MO, said she's seen "huge demand" for the glasses.
"So many phone calls every day!" she said. "We bought some but had so many requests we decided to do a giveaway on our Facebook page (going on right now). A share this 'eclipse tips' video for a chance to win. I had accidentally bought some counterfeit ones so I showed what those look like compared to the good ones we are giving out."
Brandy Walker, optician at DePoe Eye Center in Macon, GA, has also had many requests for the eyewear.
"Couldn't believe it; everyone in my area was sold out," she said. "I have found many, many people are so confused why they need them! (Had a patient proudly proclaim that she had outsmarted everyone and bought her whole family tanning bed glasses!) There seems to be an astonishing amount of misinformation out there, despite the Googling! Plus side, I got to talk to about 70 people in three days that I wouldn't normally have ..."
Not everyone is seeing the same level of interest, though.
"We have had little demand for those, but we posted a very detailed explanation of the risks in our Facebook page," Pablo Mercado Mount Vernon Eye Care, P. C., Dunwoody, GA.
All of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun Monday, Aug. 21. This is the first of its kind in the U.S. since 1979. Anyone within the path of totality can see a total solar eclipse, and observers outside this path will see a partial solar eclipse.
The American Optometric Association has released online resources and materials for doctors to download and share in their communities.
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