Medical experts: Beware of counterfeit eclipse glasses

Optometrist warns what could happen if fake total solar eclipse glasses are used

ATLANTA — Some metro Atlanta residents are getting desperate to buy a pair of solar eclipse glasses.

And while local stores have all but sold out, medical experts say “don’t get too desperate.”

After more than 20 years staring into other people’s eyes, Alpharetta optometrist Dr. Nepa Bhadra knows a worse-case scenario when she sees one.

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"You can have long-lasting effects of those cells being burned, often dying. And you lose vision in that area.  And you can't get it back,” Bhadra said.

A crowd at a local hardware store doesn’t want to risk that.

They stood in line for hours at the Johns Creek Ace to buy what the store insists are certified solar eclipse glasses.

The manager says they have now sold nearly 10,000 pairs.

"I wish that I had ordered 10,000 more,” Richard Lukowiak said.

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Shoppers say they could have bought them online, but experts warn that market has now been flooded with counterfeits.

"I just wanted a reputable place like Ace or Lowe's or whatever. I didn't want to mess with the online stuff. I'm happy I came here and got them,” shopper Kelly Monroe said.

"I heard there are ways to find out whether it's real or not. I wouldn't want to burn my eyes out,” customer Paige Consoli said.

Back in an exam room at Premier Family Vision, Bhadra is urging eclipse watchers to make sure their glasses are NASA-approved.

"If you really want to see the eclipse, you have to have the right type of glasses. It's terrible people will sell it knowing they are not correct, just to make a few dollars. You can really blind people,” Bhadra said.

The doctor also says the sun burns the cells in your eyes without your feeling pain. She says you won’t know it happened until you start losing your eyesight.