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Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question

Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7840
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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How much sunlight exposure would it take to cause permanent

Customer Question

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?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.

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

Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7840
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you

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