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South Florida readies for eclipse

It's no secret that staring directly into the sun during the solar eclipse isn't recommended and could have detrimental consequences on your eyes. (Grand Canyon National Park / MGN)

As the great total solar eclipse draws near, the amount of safety glasses grows smaller and the demand gets higher, with thousands of people scrambling to snag a pair.

Eclipse fever has it looking like 'Black Friday' at stores and public libraries across the country including here South Florida.

At the Stirling Road branch of the Broward County library officials told our news partners at the Sun Sentinel they had hundreds of people waiting in line over the weekend, fielded thousands of calls from people looking for glasses, and passed out 1,400 pair within one hour.

At the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, officials passed out 5,000 pairs of safety viewing glasses within two days.

With many stores nationwide now sold out, some people are being to forced to make their own projectors using items like cereal boxes.

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated solar eclipse is also raising some serious safety concerns.

Doctors say staring directly at the sun, even just for a few seconds, could fry the naked eye and cause permanent blindness.

“It will cause like a photooxidation and the longer you stare you will end up with an actual burn,” said Dr. Doug Leder, an optometrist with St. Mary's Medical Center.

That’s why it’s crucial that you only view the eclipse through a pinhole projection or glasses with dense solar filters.

Sunglasses will not do the job.

“I can guarantee you there will be people who will look anyway and there’s a lot of issues with the school kids, that teachers can’t keep them from looking,” Dr. Leder said.

You should also avoid directly viewing the eclipse through binoculars or telescopes.

If you plan to snap a photo, make sure you have a solar film to protect the camera’s lens.

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