Here’s where to get eclipse glasses in Routt County |

Here’s where to get eclipse glasses in Routt County

Scott Franz
Steamboat Today

Alysse Rivera, a technician at Helm Eye Center, looks at the sun with a pair of solar eclipse glasses.

State officials are bracing for traffic jams, accidents from distracted drivers and even the chance of wildfires because of the upcoming solar eclipse.

Meanwhile, doctors around the country are warning eclipse viewers about another danger:

Solar retinopathy.

Eclipse viewers who aren't watching the event from the 70-mile-wide path of totality risk permanently damaging their vision if they look up at the eclipse.

Steamboat eye doctor Mark Helm said even just a five second glimpse at the eclipse from here could result in permanent retina damage.

"It's a thermal injury, and it's almost immediate," he said. "After just five seconds you'll have damage that starts, and there's absolutely no treatment for this whatsoever."

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Regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, will not cut it.

But there are ways to safely watch the rare spectacle of the moon blocking out the sun.

And Routt County residents who are procrastinating about getting the proper eyewear to view the eclipse through are in luck.

Three libraries in Routt County still have pairs of free eclipse-viewing glasses in stock.

Bud Werner Memorial Library is completely out, but the public libraries in Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa still have some of them in stock.

"We've been giving these away like crazy," Hayden Public Library clerk Sharon Booco said Thursday.

The library received 1,000 pairs of the glasses as part of the Space Science Institute's STAR_NET program.

Booco said the library will also be handing out pairs of the glasses Aug. 17 at the Routt County Fair parade in downtown Hayden.

Starting Friday, Helm's office at 505 Anglers Drive is also expected to have in stock 250 pairs of eclipse glasses.

Helm's office will give a pair of the glasses to anyone who is willing to donate a minimum of $1 to the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, a humanitarian group dedicated to protecting and restoring vision of people living in the Pacific Basin.