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Common sense says NO but Is it really safe to stare at the sun? (Science references only)?

There are people on the internet who claim big health benefits of staring at the sun, purporting it to be IV bagging chi right into the chakra. Sorry to mix metaphors.
Has anyone tried it either at dusk or dawn or through a slit? Sungazers and disbelievers: got science?
I have had the experience of looking directly at the sun for 2 minutes before at around 6pm in the summer and I have had no permanent side effects.
Let’s stay away from Galilean-era anecdotes regarding staring at the sun through a telescope; I’m talking about plain-eye, line of sight vision to the sun.
I’d like to know if there is scientific proof that it could be damaging. Something that says the retina/optic nerve tissue has an energy capacity of x and staring at the sun for a time represents >x (greater than x) amt of energy and therefore the eye is physically damaged (even then, that’s not to say it doesn’t heal).
http://www.rawpaleodiet.org/sungazing/
http://www.sungazing.com/

8 COMMENTS

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/specials/eclipse99/355066.stm
    Viewing the partly-eclipsed Sun without protective equipment will result in a retinal burn.
    Depending on how long the retina is exposed to the Sun, this injury may cause permanent damage to vision.
    There is no pain when the retina is being burned, and the resulting visual symptoms do not occur until at least several hours after the injury has occurred – by which time it is far too late.
    —- —- —- —-
    This picture shows a more extreme form of solar retinopathy in the left eye of a young man who stared unprotected at a partial eclipse of the sun.
    Several crescent-shaped burns can be seen in the central retina, and these have resulted in blindness in this eye, with his vision reduced to below 20/400

  2. Stupid as this sounds when iwas away i decided i wanted to look at the sun and decided to take a picture on my phone and look at it like that…gotta be honest with you thow not much different it just looks like it has hair…

  3. Well i dont think its advisable ,but as a young guy 8-10 years old my frinds and i used to see who could stare at the sun for the longest without blinking ,we did it many times,and its only now in my late fifties that i look back and think how lucky i was,(all true)
    my 2 friends ,stevie wonder and ray charles were not so fortuneate.(not true)

  4. Common sense is often correct. The lenses in your eyes focus (concentrate) the sun’s rays on your retina; that’s their function. If you ignore the pain, it’ll burn your retina just like ants under a magnifying glass. Pain is your body’s way of saying don’t do that. That’s especially true of pain due to heat (there’s a strong correlation with injury). Why do you need “scientific proof” before you stop doing something so obviously stupid?

  5. Actually, one of the dangers of gazing into the sun is that the damage may not manifiest immediately. I know you excluded this, but it is possible to dmage the eye by looking through a telescope before you can pull away!
    For direct viewing, it will depend on the specific conditions (twilight, etc). The damage is done by UV light, not by the heat (infra-re) and can take weeks to fully show itself. To keep it safe, that UV light has to be filtered out in some way (somewhat like getting a sunburn in your eye-although the lens intensifies the UV light). At dusk, this *might* be possible if there is enough dust in the air. But is it really worth risking your vision????

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