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Will Staring at the Sun Make You Go Blind?

Updated on June 29, 2008

The answer is yes. Staring at the sun is extremely dangerous and it will cause permanent damage to the eye. Will you go blind after staring at the sun one time? Well, when permanent loss of vision is under discussion, isn’t even a little blindness more than enough to justify taking precautions. It is possible to stare at the sun without going completely blind, but chances are, some major damage will be done. Just like the skin, the eye is an extremely sensitive area that can be burned by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The human eye restricts bright light naturally, but that process itself creates a focused stream of light pointed directly at the macula. The macula is the part of the eye in charge of the major portion of vision. This kind of intense exposure can literally create a burn on the surface of the eye causing the cells to blister and crack. Most dangerous, is the fact that retinal burns do not hurt while they are occurring. Only hours later will your eyes burn and itch.

I Just did it Once:

After just one direct viewing of the sun, a person can attain a retinal burn creating a blind spot that can be temporary or permanent. This type of burn is called solar retinopathy. Even if the burn is temporary, such an injury to the retina combined with sun exposure over a lifetime will contribute to accelerated deterioration of vision, or macular degeneration. If the macula does attain permanent damage to even a tiny area, your level of vision can immediately drop.

There’s Something to Stare at Up There:

Concerns about the dangers of staring at the sun arise most around the time of unusual solar activity such as an eclipse. It is understandable to want to get a good look at such a rare event, but never view an eclipse with the naked eye. Even when part of the sun is blocked out, the exposed area can still cause a retinal burn. Children always are interested in getting a good look at their first eclipse, but children are especially at risk for eye damage from the sun, because their eyes have not yet fully developed their abilities to block out UV rays. The only time it is safe to stare directly at the sun is during a total eclipse, but don’t try it. A total eclipse means the sun’s light is completely blocked out by another celestial object such as the moon. This blockage generally only occurs for a matter of moments. Immediately before and after a total eclipse there is risk. It’s not worth permanent eye damage to try to catch the eclipse at just the right moment. It is much safer and very easy to create a viewing box or buy special filtered glass to experience these events.

I Don’t Plan to Stare:

Burns to the eye can occur anytime, and people who work in the sand or snow should be especially concerned. Both sand and snow reflect the sun’s light and intensify its effects. Protective sunglasses should always be worn when sunbathing on the beach or skiing. Longer-term exposure can cause cataracts, cloudy areas that diminish the field of vision, and other eye problems. Make sure to choose either amber tinted or polarized sunglasses. Regular sunglasses without specific UV protection will do very little to prevent damage. The risk of daily sun exposure is the worst during the middle of the day between mid-morning and late afternoon.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Even on an overcast day, the UV rays of the sun can penetrate the clouds; so if you are planning on spending many hours outside, protect yourself. Got baby blues? Take even more precautions if you have light colored eyes, as your eyes have increased sensitivity to the sun. Also, tetracycline related drugs, often used to treat acne, and the pill can increase sun sensitivity as well. The sooner you start protecting your eyes the better, as most eye damage occurs early in life. Don’t automatically assume that your sunglasses are UV protective. You’ll want to make sure that they block out at least 99% of the harmful light, and never judge your glasses by the color. A dark tint doesn’t automatically mean that they are sun protective. Consider glasses that wrap around the sides of your face for added protection, and it’s always a good idea to wear a brimmed hat for long hours outdoors.

How to I Learn More?

For more information about eye health, consider visiting the following websites:

http://www.nei.nih.gov/

http://www.sightandhearing.org

http://www.checkyearly.com

http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/shadesday

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    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

      Actually the answer is NO for those with melanin! But to the ones who's skin is a curse and need sunblock to withstand the light of "our" essence. The answer is yes.

    • electricsky profile image

      electricsky 7 years ago from North Georgia

      Thanks for the healthful thinking information.

    • BeiYin profile image

      BeiYin 7 years ago from Ibiza Spain

      What you are writing is right, but you should not generalize too much. For sure looking or staring into the plain sun at daytime is dangerous, but if you do this when the sun arises or is going down, like on your beautiful photo, then this is favorable. It is called 'sun gazing', you can read my hub about it, you might want to try it...

    • profile image

      Does it matter 7 years ago

      i like cheeeeeeeeeeese

    • profile image

      susana 6 years ago

      im a whitch=) yey!!! wooooohoooo!!!

      i put a spell on you and now you're baaaack!!!

    • profile image

      Marc 6 years ago

      I stare at sunsets and sunrises. After it reaches a certain point in the sky it is no longer comfortable to look at it.

      My vision is 20/10 and I find a deep sense of peace by looking at the sun during these times.

    • profile image

      Mike M 6 years ago

      At one time in my life when I was having a manic episode like a dumb a** I stared at the sun for quite some time. Maybe 2 - 3 minutes. During the mania, I assumed I had died and thought OK this is the light. But, my rational thinking was a little intact and I thought Okay this could permanently damage my vision if I am in fact alive. Well, I quit looking and I would say for the next 3 - 5 hours I saw a giant blue ball in my vision. After a bit, it faded to yellow.. (not sure if it was hours - because it happened in 2002).. But, many hours later that night.. My vision turned blurry. I'd say to this day, yes it probably damaged my eye.. I never told the eye doctor (because honestly it is embarrassing telling anyone you experienced an episode of craziness in your life.) Oh, for those curious the Sun was quite far above the horizon to the point I felt the burn on my skin.

      The part that upsets me most about my story is in my mind back then how I felt it was all so real. The delusional thinking was so strong that I really felt I had died. If you never experienced insanity like this .. The only thing I could compare it to was like living through a horror flick without a place to cover your eyes..

    • profile image

      BAlls 6 years ago

      if you stare to long you will become a oopmaloopa

    • profile image

      Miracles 6 years ago

      The Lord has blessed my family with witnessing the miracle of the sun multiple times. We have stared for many minutes and have been blessed!!!

    • profile image

      byron 6 years ago

      I once stared at the sun for a short while because I had a crush on a girl that had glasses. I wanted to have a reason to wear glasses so I could be a bit more like her. I'm not sure how much harm I inflicted upon my eyes. I can acknowledge now that it wasn't the best way to try to have something in common with a crush or to show affection for that person.

    • profile image

      ken 6 years ago

      Well, really the answer is yes and no. It depends on the time of day that you stare at the sun. 1 hour after sun rise and 1 hour before sunset will not hurt your eyes. It will actually help and heal your eyes if you wear glasses.You must start slowly,,, 10 seconds the first day and 20 seconds the second day and 30 seconds the third day and 40 seconde the forth day and so on. This will correct your eyes after about 6 weeks or so. You can work your way up to 45 minutes of continious staring in about 9 months.

    • profile image

      Bizet 5 years ago

      yeah see you shouldn't look at it when its at its highest point try the sun gazing technique it has been proven that sun gazing actually helps the eye vision.

    • profile image

      ADam 5 years ago

      i have stared at the sun a lot....and my eyes are fine....oh well.

    • corpdesign profile image

      corpdesign 5 years ago

      Lol genius article. So obvious. Surprised anyone would do it!

    • profile image

      Jason 5 years ago

      You CAN stare directly into the sun if you are strong enough, and you believe you are God.

    • profile image

      Dwayne 5 years ago

      Well i stare at the Sun sometimes just for fun with or without sunglasses on a clear sky and its a blue circle. Than when you look at someone its a black circle and when i close both my eyes what i see is a black back ground with a white circle. Is that even possible for less than 30 seconds.

    • profile image

      Dwayne 5 years ago

      Never stare at the Sun ever because you will have very sore eyes and vision problems later in Life.

    • profile image

      Marilynn 5 years ago

      I don't know where all you pundits are getting your information. I'm 67, have always had excellent eyesight and I still do. I get my eyes checked every year or so and have no sign of macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal damage of any kind. (My optometrist has all the latest equipment for assessing visual acuity and disorders of the eye.) People with impaired vision---nearsighted or astigmatic---are always warning ME about how I'M going to destroy MY vision by:

      1. Using cayenne pepper in water as an eyewash.

      2. Staring at the sun.

      They ought to worry more about their own faulty eyesight because they are WRONG on both counts. Cayenne pepper solution is uncomfortable (especially if you have an abnormal condition) but it helps clear your vision.

      Looking into the sun in the morning or late afternoon has an interesting effect, which I find pleasant, but never blindness, soreness, burning and itching. If that is the effect looking at the sun has on you, then you had better get your eyes examined.

      It's never wise to allow children to do some of the things adults do, because immature and developing systems may be more susceptible to damage, but as an adult I am perfectly capable of managing my own health, including taking care of my eyes!

    • profile image

      Anonymous 5 years ago

      I done it undeliberately b4 and my eyesight got damage to my eyesight. It is the worse feeling ever. It is reaaly not wise, and I would strongly, strongly advise people not to even glance at it.

      From: a person with experience

    • profile image

      Ally 5 years ago

      Today I was taking pics in the sunset, and now, 1 hour later, my eyes are burning like crazy. I am so worried please help.

    • profile image

      Don't Ever Look at the SUN!!! 5 years ago

      I was watching the sunset for the first time in my life, and I can attest to the fact that loss of vision is painless. I think my pupils were dilated and the golden sunset warmed my retina just enough that photoreceptors in my eye were just dying while I enjoyed the sunset. Minutes after, I noticed a severe decrease in my vision to pick out details. It's like I have to look at everything twice to see something there. I think it is permanent. Just please don't ever look at the sun, not even at sunset or sunrise. It's not worth the risk.

    • profile image

      T3R3Z1 5 years ago

      YOU R34LLY SHOU1DN'T DO TH1S ACTIVITY. IT 1S 3XTR3M3LY D4NG3ROUS. JUST LOOK AT M3, 1'M LIVING PROOF.

      TH3 SUN N33DS TO B3 BROUGHT TO JUST1C3 FOR TH3S3 HORRIB13 CRIM3S.

    • profile image

      Stupid 5 years ago

      Don't do it. Ever. I stared at the sun for about a minute straight and now have a permanent burn mark directly on my focus point. I had perfect vision and now I can't even read a digital clock in the dark. There is a permanent burn mark right in my field of focus. This is dangerous and will do damage. :(

    • profile image

      Marleau 5 years ago

      I stare at the sun frequently and my vision is still perfect. I stare at it probably once a week for a good two minutes, it's beautifully. It becomes (obviously) a big circle but white and its much brighter on the edge and it moves a little bit. Alsoa fun safe thing to do is find a wall, look at it, but then focus on the space between you and the wall, then start doing that in a dark room and you see a lot of interesting things flying in the air, which is most likely eye floaters but they're still fun to watch.

    • profile image

      cindy 5 years ago

      why do my eye see dark when i enter a house on a sunny day

    • profile image

      Anna 5 years ago

      I also had a manic episode from bi-polar disorder and stared at the sun. I had no sun aversion when I was in this manic state. My eyes have permanent damage. My central vision is blurred in both eyes. It's depressing.

    • profile image

      LILLY 5 years ago

      can u also go blind by looking at a light?

    • profile image

      DRVMMER 5 years ago

      No. Looking into lcd screens will make you blind. looking into the sun will do the opposite. read the bible about looking at the sun...

    • profile image

      Lou Buren 5 years ago

      Good article, and very true. The sun is dangerous to your eyes.

      http://fisherman209.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      dicksuckerdeluxe 5 years ago

      i think its best to move to translyvania and hide in the dark for the rest of your life

    • profile image

      snerious 5 years ago

      where do you get you information? are you just going off common sense or do you actually have info to back this up? HOw many cases of blindness from staring at sun do you actually have verified?

    • profile image

      matthew cook 4 years ago

      about two years ago i took a lot of photos in my house in front of my windo and on the photos the blessing i got from the photos was one wast the lord jesus christ and mary mother of god as well then i staring at the sun from about 45 min i have being doing that for a long time i do not feel eny dangerous about it becaues every time i look in to the sun i get a lot of feeling i take photos of the sky i have angel and the spirit of my dad and the spirit of my two brothers and my wife dad spirit and lots and lots of spirit all on the photos and at the xmas 25 12 2012 i went up to the graveyard and takaing a lot and lots of photos of orbs i feel the inner father is in me i feet the blessing i have bein gave is to do with the awakein two change the world becaues of the danger wee all are in destroying mothr nature

    • profile image

      Besh 4 years ago

      Here is a source for some educated answers.

      http://youtu.be/zlCJPxxKoaY

    • profile image

      Billy nunes 4 years ago

      I tried sun gazing last night at sun set 2 10 second sessions and no damage I will try 2 20 second sessions tonight. I think this is why all the ancient structures Aline with the sun rise so people could gather and sun gaze in a mass or group you should give it a try

    • profile image

      justhistruth 4 years ago

      I stared at the sun through an eclipse only with one eye (my left eye)and now twenty plus years later my left eye still sees better than the right.I also have no problem looking into the sun for 10 or 20 second intervals until my eye waters and no damage,I have respect for the suns being there as the ruler of the day and did this to prove science is lieing.But without JESUS there is no way to have this glory.Have a good day all

    • profile image

      joshua 4 years ago

      I began looking at the sun for ten seconds and each day afterwards increased the time ten seconds or more until I reached forty five minutes plus. It has always given me a very calming effect and has changed my life for the better. In fact, I dont know how I managed without it for most of my life.I am now sixty two. Ive been sun gazing for about four years now and plan to make a lifetime habit of it. However I now only do twenty minutes at a time two or three times a week. ,,,,,,,,,, Sungazing is not for everyone and I will not recommend it for anyone. You must look inside yourself and see if it is right for you.

    • profile image

      joshua 4 years ago

      I did forget to mention that I began sungazing at sunrise or at sunset. Never when the sun was far above the horizen.

    • profile image

      dodo 4 years ago

      i looked at the sun during a solar eclipse and now i have a blind spot in my eye. i really want it to get better because i'm only a teen. the eye doctor said there is a slight chance of it getting better. has anyone had this happen to them and healed???

    • profile image

      Kenyon Williams 4 years ago

      I have been staring at the Sun regularly since 2008. I have never had any ill effects. God designed the iris to shrink down to a pin hole 'just like a pin hole camera', for this very purpose. I don't know how long I can do this, but usually get bored after 20 minutes or so. Sun glasses actually are more damaging to your retna, because they defeat the eyes ability to limit incoming bright light. I will do this for anyone, anytime the Sun is out. I will be at the Boatnik in Grants Pass over Memorial Day, if anyone wants proof of this. Kenyon Donald Williams, God's only End-Time Watchman

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      Nikki 4 years ago

      I am quite worried now, i was never told it was dangerous to stare at the sun when i was a kid. I remember having staring contest to see how long i can stare at it without blinking. My vsion is 20/20 and i am now 35... Does that mean im out the woods?

    • profile image

      Daichi K. 4 years ago

      Starred at the sun so many times as kid... no wonder i got my view shorted down by my body! xD

      May have other causes, like never eating many fruits & vegetables as well... but i guess, both contributed enough to it (and still do *_*).

    • profile image

      kelvin 4 years ago

      i used to hold my eyelids open so that i can stare at the sun when i was a kid. I liked the burn sensation it gave me. Many years later i found out i have some color blindness. Could this be cause.

    • profile image

      Nikki 4 years ago

      Hi Kelvin,

      It cannot be the cause at all.

      A very high percentage of men are color blind.

      I used to stare at the sun until my eyes would water as a kid.

      I was never told it was dangerous and so i didn't know better.

      I am now 35 years old and i have 20'20 vision

    • profile image

      Lankyturtle 4 years ago

      I used to stare at the sun when I was a kid. It always looked to me like a spinning disc. Later, in my teens, I got a small telescope(30x30, and I used to stare at the setting sun with it. As far as I can tell, my eyes are no worse than anyone esle's at my age(53).

      Having, in my teens, chased(and caught) many ants around the patio with a magnifying glass, I would concur with the article, however. I'm probably just lucky.

    • profile image

      Khan Allah 4 years ago

      Burn until the sun burns ur eyes green is blue up is down there is a God That lives in the sun Open ur eyes

    • profile image

      Lydia MacDonald 4 years ago

      If you stare at the sun you might go blind!!

    • profile image

      Lydia 4 years ago

      I agree with Lydia!!

    • profile image

      Sophia 3 years ago

      I've stared at the sun for maybe 3 minutes before. Or more. And my vision never came out worse than it was before...

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      Phillip 3 years ago

      I guess it depends on who you are. The longest time I stared into the sun was 10 minutes, and I have no noticeable damage to my vision. (BTW I believe I am God hahaha!)

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      tasneem 2 years ago

      Looking at the sun directly for a longer time can burn the retina yes....from physics point of view our eye lens is convex so the sun is at infinity and its image will be formed at the focus of our eye lens ....its like creating a mini sun equally intense as the real sun on your retina....its a big deal yeah.....especially if u are light eyed.....i too did it but out of curiosity only twice when I was eight yrs old...now I am 20 yrs and have a power of -7D on both eyes...which is not due to sun gazing but due to too much of tv and studies....

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      Tyler 14 months ago

      I stare at the sun ALL the time and its for hours at a time, my vision is perfectly fine. Nothing is wrong with it. My family said that I could go blind and now that I'm 30 years young, my vision is the same as it was when I was 4 years young.

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