If you haven’t already purchased solar eclipse glasses to view Monday’s total solar eclipse, you’re out of luck.

No such glasses are available in the area due to high demand.

Even Wal-Mart in Elizabeth City is sold out.

Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and other area businesses report there are no plans to reorder the glasses in time for the celestial event. 

And area libraries — which were provided free solar eclipse glasses through the Space Science Institute's STAR_Net initiative — are also tapped out. Staff at Dare County Libraries report their phones have been ringing off the hook, and the answer is always the same: "We don't have any glasses."

So don't bother calling.

Online, the prices have spiked. The glasses, which sold for less than $2 last week, are now $90 or higher. 

Very dark welding glasses are also safe — but only those that have a filter that is rated 14. A pair of number 7's, or a 10 and a 4 together, do not have the same protection as a single piece of number 14.

People who don’t have the glasses but plan to wear super dark sunglasses to view the eclipse will regret it, experts warn.

The energy the sun expels is so intense it can actually burn the retina — the light-sensitive part of the eye. A retina burn doesn’t heal like sunburn on the skin. It actually doesn’t heal at all because the retina is nerve tissue, which doesn’t readily regenerate.

Not completely left in the dark

If you don’t have solar glasses or No. 14 welders glasses, there is easy-to-make, safe and effective "old school" method by which to safely view a solar eclipse: A pinhole camera

Bear in mind, the image of the sun can be small, dim and rather disappointing — but it is safe, and that's what counts.

How to make a pinhole camera

What you will need

  • 2 pieces of white card stock
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • Pin or paper clip
  • Instructions

1. Cut a square hole

Cut a square hole into the middle of one of your pieces of card stock.

2. Tape foil over the hole

Tape a piece of aluminum foil over the hole.

3. Poke a hole in the foil

Use your pin or paper clip to poke a small hole in the aluminum foil.

4. Try it out

Place your second piece of card stock on the ground and hold the piece with aluminum foil above it (foil facing up). Stand with the sun behind you and view the projected image on the card stock below! The farther away you hold your camera, the bigger your projected image will be.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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