When You Stare At The Sun, This Is What Happens To Your Eyes

When that first sunny day appears after weeks of torrential downpour, the urge to go outside and enjoy the rays can be hard to resist. While it's important to protect our skin with sunscreen, protecting other areas of our body from harsh sunlight is important too. As it turns out, many people are unaware about why it's so important to avoid looking directly at the sun.

According to Business Insider, on a cloudless day, "the sun shines up to 5,000 times brighter than an average light bulb." Those are some very bright rays! If you didn't manage to close your eyes fast enough the last time you made direct eye contact with the sun, you likely experienced blotchy vision, otherwise called an after image. This blotchy vision can become permanent if the cells and proteins within the retina become damaged due to an overexposure of light. Luckily, there is no lasting pain involved as the retina doesn't have pain receptors.

Eyes can also become sunburned and there's no sunscreen for the eyeball

As hard as it is to imagine, just like our skin, our eyes can also get sunburned. Business Insider tells us that the same UV rays that burn our skin can also burn the corneas in our eyes. Unfortunately, the cornea does have pain receptors, so you will notice this burn.

In addition to possible long-term damage and a painful sunburn, you can also face short-term effects from staring directly at the sun. UCSB ScienceLine says normally, "eye damage from staring into the sun results in blurred vision, dark or yellow spots, pain in bright light, or loss of vision in the center of the eye." Of course, for safety reasons, there's a lack of research to show how long it takes for permanent damage to set in. The exact length of time would vary depending on the intensity of the sun on different days, as well as how much the sun gazer's pupil is dilated. To protect our sensitive peepers from any type of sun damage, it's best to be safe and take the necessary precautions to avoid direct exposure. By all means, enjoy a sunny day, but perhaps stick to stargazing instead of sun gazing.