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Includes Expert Content
Blindness due to sunlight
An_249836 posted:
I was just wondering, let's say you're 20 years old and you stare into the sun. Can the sun make you blind? If so, what type of blindness is caused by staring into the sun? How badly can it affect our eye sight (complete blindness?) and is it permanent blindness or can it be treated with medication, surgery, etc...?
Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
It is definitely NOT a good idea to stare directly and for extended periods at the sun. The bright light will be focused at the central part of the retina and can cause retinal burns. If this occurs, there can be permanent loss of vision for which there is no treatment. No, it will not cause "lights out" vision loss but it can destroy the part of the eye (macula) which is needed to provide high resolution vision.

If there is a question as to whether this type of damage has occurred, a visit to an ophthalmologist with measurement of your vision and examination of your retina should give the answer.
An_249836 replied to Alan M Kozarsky, MD's response:
Ohhh okay, thanks for your help! I was pretty something like what you said would happen. And what happens if you stare at UV light for an extended period of time? What's the main and most common effect of UV light on the eyes, assuming the sun is not involved? Can macular degeneration occur if you stare at UV light for too long?
An_249836 replied to Alan M Kozarsky, MD's response:
and how bad is it to stare into lasers? what type of lasers can actually damage your eye? and is it painful?
Alan M Kozarsky, MD replied to An_249836's response:
It is best assume that there are NO safe lasers to shine into your eyes. (non medical use) Such non-medical exposure is better avoided than contemplated. A damaging exposure would not likely be painful other than bright light startle response.

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