- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Thousands of Utah residents are flocking to a planetarium in Salt Lake City this week to buy solar eclipse glasses to make sure they get safe ones following a recall issued by online retailer Amazon.

The Clark Planetarium has seen a huge spike in sales this week of the facility’s $2 glasses after the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah on Sunday told people to throw out the glasses the center gave away this month because of the recall, said Rob Morris, director of operations. People could keep ones with a Clark Planetarium label, the center said.

Lines snaked around the block outside the Clark Planetarium on Wednesday morning. The planetarium sold about 21,000 glasses on Tuesday and were on pace to match or exceed that total Wednesday, Morris said. Several school districts and hospitals also purchased the faulty glasses in bulk, adding to the surge in demand ahead of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, he said.

“We’re trying to supply as much as we can of the certified, safe glasses,” Morris said. “But we’re about to run out too. We’ll probably make it through today but we probably won’t have much for tomorrow.”

The Moran Eye Center gave away or sold 1,600 of the glasses that were recalled, said Elizabeth Neff, spokeswoman for the center. The center also gave out 1,000 glasses from the planetarium that can still be used.

The letter the center received from Amazon on Saturday said: “Amazon has not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you do not use this product to view the sun or the eclipse.”

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

A handful of schools in the Granite School District, which bought eclipse glasses for about 68,000 students, had purchased glasses that were part of the recall, spokesman Ben Horsley said. But those schools have already been able to find new, safe glasses, he said.

Utah isn’t the only state dealing with fallout from the recall. A public library in eastern Illinois also had to tell people not to use solar eclipse glasses that were given away earlier this month because of the Amazon recall.

Tim MacVicar rode his bike to the planetarium from his home in the Salt Lake City suburb of Cottonwood Heights to buy four pair of glasses for his wife and their children. He said he was planning to get glasses anyway and decided to come the planetarium after hearing the glasses there were safe.

Emily Miller drove 25 miles from her home in Layton, Utah, to buy a total of 10 eclipse sunglasses at the planetarium for her and her grandchildren. They plan to watch the eclipse together on Monday at their home.

Some retail stores near her house were selling glasses, but the recall made her leery of what types they were selling, she said. “I don’t trust them,” Miller said.

NASA and the American Astronomical Society advise watchers to use glasses or other solar filters from recommended manufacturers. Looking at the sun or an eclipse using other glasses could result in vision loss or permanent blindness.


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