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Asheville optometrist warns of potentially phony eclipse glasses

Dr. Larry Golson bought eclipse glasses from Amazon for patients at Envision Eyecare, only to receive an email from Amazon saying it could not confirm the glasses are safe to use. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Local doctors are warning those who plan to view the eclipse to make sure they are not using phony protective glasses that could allow permanent eye damage.

Dr. Larry Golson bought eclipse glasses from Amazon for patients at Envision Eyecare, only to receive an email from Amazon saying it could not confirm the glasses are safe to use.

"It was shocking, and I was afraid for my patients," he said. "They might work. Right? But they might not, and, if they don't work, we can look at the eclipse and lose vision in just a couple of seconds."

That's why Golson immediately began notifying patients, telling them not to use the glasses from his office.

Golson said he received the email Saturday from Amazon after already selling a number of glasses to his patients.

“One of our patient's sons works for NASA. He's an astronomer for NASA, and he looked at the email sent by the company that we bought these from, and even after looking at the certification still warned us not to let patients use them. So, it's this conundrum where we think they're OK, but we certainly can't verify that they're OK and certainly don't want anybody to use them,” said Golson.

He began notifying patients through a Facebook post, company newsletter and in person.

“I was pretty psyched to drive out there myself, and I'm not sure, just after this appointment and discussion out there, so I'll just work the box,” said K. Rae Ambrose.

Golson said using the glasses is a risk he’s not willing to take, especially being an optometrist and knowing how important the eyes are.

“I think it's a really cool solar phenomenon celestial phenomenon, but I think it's better that we use caution because we only get one pair of eyes and eyesight is so precious,” said Golson.

The American Astronomical Society has put out a list of brands that are OK to wear after saying it is no longer sufficient to look for the logo of the International Organization for Standardization and the ISO 12312-2 number.

The AAS said some companies are printing the logo and certification on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers.

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