General Question

buster's avatar

How long can you stare at the sun before going blind or suffer irreversible damage?

Asked by buster (10216 points ) February 6th, 2009

Momma always said don’t stare at the sun or you will go blind. Is this really true? Do you know anyone blinded by the sun?

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6 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

Here is an excerpt from an article that I found on the Internet:

The Sun gives out light, but it also gives out heat energy. This heat energy is focused and concentrated onto the central part of your retina, which deals with fine vision. If you stare at the Sun for long enough, you will burn out that central part of the retina. Your peripheral vision will be fine, so you’ll still notice something approaching from the corner of your eye. But if you try to read any fine print, it’ll be fuzzy, as if you were looking through a metre of seawater, or a glass smeared with petroleum jelly.

I personally don’t know anyone that was ever blinded by staring at the sun.

Blondesjon's avatar

I’m much more interested in how long one would need to stare at the moon before permanently damaging their sight.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

If you stare long enough you will die of age. Now I’m not sure if dead people are blind or just sightless.. but either way it’s pretty comparable I think. Momma wins again.

suzyq2463's avatar

Try it and you’ll see! (or, not, as the case may be). Sorry. I’m no help. I’ve got the sillies this morning.

bpeoples's avatar

Per this article, observing for as short as 30 seconds can lead to retinal lesions. Per wikipedia, looking through even low power binoculars at the sun can cause instant, permanent, damage to your retina.

And—it does happen: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1581424/Dozens-blinded-in-India-looking-for-Virgin-Mary.html

asmonet's avatar

Has anyone ever tried to stare at the sun for more than a few seconds? It hurts like a bitch for a reason.

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