Can Staring at the Sun Cause Blindness?

Sun damage can occur beyond the skin. Even your eyes risk becoming seriously damaged by sunlight if you don’t take steps to protect them. 

Keep reading to understand why this damage happens and how to prevent it.

Sun Exposure and Damage

Your eyes are made of tissue, just like your skin. So it makes sense that what can damage your skin tissue can also damage the tissues of your eyes. 

The sun and other artificial sources emit UV rays that provide benefits such as vitamin D production. Yet prolonged exposure to the eyes can trigger serious eye issues, including the potential to go blind.

Can You Really Go Blind by Staring at the Sun?

You can go blind if you look at the sun for a long time. Of course, not all damage will lead to blindness. But none of the possible problems are pleasant or good for the eyes.

Many people assume that if they aren’t having any vision problems, they don’t have any eye damage. But changes in the way you see might not be noticeable initially and can be devastating if the damage is severe enough.

What Part of the Eye Does the Sun Damage?

Every part of your eye can be damaged if not protected. Some common conditions in various parts of the eye may be caused by too much sun exposure.

  • Cataracts: You have lenses in your eyes that naturally cloud up throughout your lifetime. When there’s too much cloudiness on the lens, that cataract needs to be replaced. Too much sun can lead to needing surgery much earlier than typically necessary.
  • Eye Cancer: You may have growths around, on, and behind your eye when cancer grows from sun exposure. Depending on your cancer type, size, and the treatment needed, you can lose your vision if the situation is serious. 
  • Photokeratitis: This is a painful condition affecting the eye’s surface or cornea. You may recover from this condition, but it is often an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience.
  • Retinal Disease: The delicate layers behind your eye can become burned, scarred, or damaged from too much UV light. This injury is irreversible.

How To Prevent Vision Damage and Loss

You can take steps to help minimize how much sun your eyes have exposure to throughout the year.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses with UV protection ratings should always be worn when around UV lights. Even if you already wear a pair, ensure they provide UV protection.

Know Your Vulnerability

Not many people know that some topical and oral medications can make them more susceptible to sun damage. The more risk factors apply to you, the more protection you need.

Protect Your Eyes Even on Cloudy Days

The sun can still cause damage to your skin and eyes when it’s cloudy. So always wear your sunglasses outside, even if it seems silly or over the top. The risk of damage is present regardless of the weather.

Don’t Forget the Kids

You may already use sunscreen on your kids, but they should learn about protecting their eyes from a young age. Kids who wear UV protective eyewear when they’re young are likely to continue doing so as adults.

Does Looking at the Sun Make You Blind?

If you look at the sun long enough, you can go blind. From cancer to retinal damage and everything in between, there are many ways you could permanently damage your vision.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor if you have any concerns or troublesome eye problems. Your eye health and vision may depend on it.