The Ministry of Health has been explaining why no eclipse shades were purchased for distribution to the public.
Residents have questioned why the protective eyewear was not purchased and handed out, as was the case in 1998 when the region experienced a full solar eclipse.
In a news release, the ministry of health said because this will be the first total eclipse to be seen in much of the USA in several decades, “there has been an overwhelming demand for genuine eclipse shades.”
The release said, “so great has been the demand that they soon went scarce, and an abundance of fake eclipse shades have appeared on the market.”
“For that reason, we in Antigua and Barbuda have been unable to obtain eclipse eye shades from any of the approved manufacturers,” it added.
Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr James Knight is urging residents to find the safest way to view the solar eclipse since Antigua and Barbuda has been unable to obtain approved eclipse eyeshades.
Sanctioned manufacturers have run out and an abundance of fake glasses have ended up on the market.
The astronomical event begins about 2:22 pm, reaches maximum eclipse at 3:42 and ends about 4:51 pm.
Antigua and Barbuda will see a partial eclipse while much of the United States (US) will view a total eclipse.
Dr Knight continues to express the sentiments of other professionals for persons not to view Monday’s event without genuine protective eye wear.
“The very fact that it is only partial makes it even more dangerous, since at all times there will be a significant portion of the sun still exposed and sending its ultraviolet rays directly to us, with potential for serious damage to our eyes,” Dr Knight said.
He said a quick glance might not be that harmful, but advised against it.
Genuine eclipse shades should carry an ISO endorsement and the number 12312-2 and modern welder’s goggles- #13 or #14, according to the acting CMO, may be used.
He said children can construct simple pin-hole projectors with small cardboard boxes to view the spectacular show.
However, “In the absence of any safe device for viewing the eclipse, persons are advised just to watch it via television or the internet,” Dr Knight added.