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How long can you look at a solar eclipse before going blind

Payne asked to borrow the woman's glasses to look up at the rare phenomenon in the sky — not knowing it would change her life forever. Payne estimates she glanced at the sun for a total of 30 seconds. About six hours later, she noticed a black spot had formed in the middle of her left eye. She visited a local hospital the next day, but staff there sent her home without examining her retina. Over the next few weeks, her fears only escalated.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What Happens When You Stare At The Sun For Too Long

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: I LOOKED UP AT THE SOLAR ECLIPSE!!!! EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!* I Went Blind*

What Happens to Your Eyes If You Look Directly at the Sun During a Solar Eclipse?

People across the United States will have the chance to see a total solar eclipse on Aug. While it may be tempting to brush off warnings about looking up at this eclipse bare-eyed, don't: The light of an eclipse really can damage your eyes — though warnings of total blindness may be overstated.

The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don't realize what they're doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy can be caused by staring at the sun regardless of its phase , but few people can stand to look directly at our nearest star for very long without pain.

It does happen occasionally — medical journals record cases in which people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time, causing serious damage. Adherents of sun-worshipping religious sects are also victims. In , for example, Italian ophthalmologists treated 66 people for solar retinopathy after a sun-staring ritual. With the sun almost covered, it's comfortable to stare, and protective reflexes like blinking and pupil contraction are a lot less likely to kick in than on a normal day.

Even pets are vulnerable to eye damage from looking at an eclipse, though they don't tend to look directly at the sun. Even so, if they're with you during your eclipse outing, your furry friends should wear protective glasses as well.

Early observers of astronomy sometimes found out about solar retinopathy the hard way. Thomas Harriot, who observed sunspots in but did not publish his discovery, wrote in that after viewing the sun his "sight was dim for an hour. Scientists don't have a good bead on the prevalence of eye damage after a solar eclipse.

In one study, conducted in after a solar eclipse visible in Europe, 45 patients with possible solar retinopathy showed up at an eye clinic in Leicester in the United Kingdom after viewing the eclipse. Forty were confirmed to have some sort of damage or symptoms of damage; five of those had visible changes in their retina.

Twenty of the patients reported eye pain, while another 20 reported problems with vision. Of the latter group, 12 reported that their sight had returned to normal seven months later, but four could still see the ghosts of the damage in their visual field, such as a crescent-shaped spot visible in dim light. However, they warned, earlier post-eclipse studies had turned up more severe problems in patients, suggesting that widespread media warnings not to look at the eclipsing sun may have prevented more damage during recent eclipses.

Research also suggests that while a lot of the damage may heal, some may be permanent. One study followed 58 patients who sustained eye damage after viewing a eclipse in Turkey. Healing occurred during the first month after the eclipse, the researchers reported in the journal Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, but by 18 months, whatever damage remained was permanent up to 15 years later.

So, while it might be tough to go totally blind by looking at an eclipse, doing so without proper protection could leave a long-lasting stain on your vision. Originally published on Live Science. Live Science. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer.

A tourist watches a solar eclipse through eclipse-viewing glasses in in Varanasi, India.

Can You Really Go Blind Staring at a Solar Eclipse?

The first thing to remember about observing an eclipse is safety. A solar eclipse is potentially dangerous, however, because viewing a solar eclipse involves looking at the Sun, which can damage your eyesight. A solar eclipse can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse , when the Sun itself is completely obscured by the Moon.

F or the first time in U. ET on Monday.

But those who aren't careful risk doing some nasty damage to their eyes. That's because the light from the sun is so intense that it can literally burn your eyeballs — even during a solar eclipse, when part of the sun's disk is still visible. Sunlight damages the eyes by triggering a series of chemical reactions in the retina, the light-sensitive part at the back of the eye. Retinas contain two types of photoreceptors: rods that help you see in the dark and cones that produce color vision. When intense solar radiation hits the retinas, it can damage and even destroy those cells, in what doctors call a retinal photochemical injury, or solar retinopathy.

Will you go blind if you look at the solar eclipse?

People across the United States will have the chance to see a total solar eclipse on Aug. While it may be tempting to brush off warnings about looking up at this eclipse bare-eyed, don't: The light of an eclipse really can damage your eyes — though warnings of total blindness may be overstated. The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don't realize what they're doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy can be caused by staring at the sun regardless of its phase , but few people can stand to look directly at our nearest star for very long without pain. It does happen occasionally — medical journals record cases in which people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time, causing serious damage. Adherents of sun-worshipping religious sects are also victims. In , for example, Italian ophthalmologists treated 66 people for solar retinopathy after a sun-staring ritual. With the sun almost covered, it's comfortable to stare, and protective reflexes like blinking and pupil contraction are a lot less likely to kick in than on a normal day.

After looking at solar eclipse, woman has crescent-shaped blind spot on her eye

A total solar eclipse will cut a path of totality across the United States on August 21, and eclipse mania is gripping the country. Should the wide-eyed and unprotected hazard a peek at this rare phenomenon? NASA doesn't advise it. The truth is, a quick glance at a solar eclipse won't leave you blind. But you're not doing your peepers any favors.

By Anne Buckle and Aparna Kher. Never look directly at the Sun.

For complete coverage of the Eclipse of the Century go to cnn. Watch live, in virtual reality, as the eclipse moves coast to coast Monday. CNN On Monday, the moon's shadow will block the sun from view in a total solar eclipse.

Can a Solar Eclipse Really Blind You?

Several states in the U. The path of totality will stretch from Salem, Ore. The total eclipse will last from a.

One of his patients, for example, was afflicted in one eye 71 years ago when he glimpsed an eclipse through a smoked piece of glass at age nine. Fortunately, he had the other eye closed. Pacific, travels through parts of 14 states and wraps its journey about p. Eastern in South Carolina. The rest of the continent will get to see a partial eclipse, which can be safely observed using eclipse-viewing glasses compliant with the ISO international standard or a pinhole projector, NASA says.

Can you really go blind staring at a solar eclipse?

A truly awe-inspiring event, a solar eclipse is when the moon blocks any part of the sun from our view. The bright face of the sun is covered gradually by the moon during a partial eclipse, lasting a few hours. During the brief period of a total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun only a couple of minutes , the light of day gives way to a deep twilight sky. Bright stars and planets become more visible in the sky. Watching a solar eclipse is a memorable experience, but looking directly at the sun can seriously damage your eyes. It can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy.

Wherever you are in the United States, you're going to want to look up, and that's OK. Every astronomer Aug 21,

Image adapted from: Aziz Acharki. Parents always warn us never to look directly at the sun. Even a quick glimpse of the sun is usually painful and difficult, so our natural instinct is to immediately squint and turn away. Beware … damage will occur!

The What: Eye Safety

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Will looking at the sun really make you blind?

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What Happens to Your Eyes If You Look Directly at the Sun During a Solar Eclipse?

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A Solar Eclipse Can Blind You (Read This Before Looking at the Sun!)

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Comments: 1
  1. Moogukree

    The authoritative point of view, curiously..

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