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Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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How much sunlight exposure would it take to cause permanent

This answer was rated:

How much sunlight exposure would it take to cause permanent damage to your eye? 3 seconds of looking directly into the Sun? 5 seconds? 10 seconds? In addition, I've dealt with situations where there would be sunlight reflecting off of a car window several yards ahead of me - whether I was facing the window of a parking lot, or driving behind a car which was reflecting sunlight off of its rear window. This went on for quite a few minutes at a time. Would those small spots of glaringly bright reflected sunlight, from the glass reflection, cause eye harm?


Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Exposure to the sun will not damage your eye nor will being exposed to sunlight reflecting off a car window cause any harm

Dr. Rick :

Usually your natural reflexes kick in when you try to look at the sun and no damage occurs.

Customer:

OK

Dr. Rick :

Damage to the eye, specifically the retina, can occur if you look at a solar eclipse or if you are on drugs, mentally ill or incapacitated in some way such that you stare directly at the sun for a very extended period of time.

Dr. Rick :

This can cause photopic damage to the macula.

Customer:

OK

Customer:

It's irreversible, right?

Dr. Rick :

So. What is the take home message here? Do not worry about being exposed to the sun or flashes of sunlight.

Dr. Rick :

That depends....as a retina specialist I have treated solar maculopathy and sometime partial function can be restored.

Dr. Rick :

But once again, as a normal healthy person you do not have to worry about this......

Customer:

ok

Dr. Rick :

Is there anything else you would like to discuss at this point or have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?

Customer:

So it would have to take like 30 or more seconds to cause eye harm

Dr. Rick :

a lot more then thirty seconds in the vast majority of cases with the normal, daily sun.

Customer:

OK

Customer:

Thank you!

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure. Have a good evening.

Dr. Rick :

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS

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