What Happens if You Look at the Sun with Binoculars? (Myth Debunked)

By Richard

Looking at the sun causes intense pain and a burning sensation in your eyes. Even if you force yourself to look at the sun, you cannot as your eyes start blinking or get closed with involuntary actions. Humans’ eyes are very sensitive and cannot remain open when exposed to greater-intensity light. 

But many people think that using binoculars is a good way to view the sun when it is shining at its peak. Is it true? Well, this guide is going to give you answers to all your questions and keep this myth out of your mind. 

Brief Answer: You cannot look at the sun with binoculars as human eyes are very sensitive. If you keep looking at the sun through binoculars, chances are high that you will end up getting injured or even losing your eyesight permanently. It is literally a bad idea to look at the sun without binoculars. 

This was the brief answer, however, we have a lot more to guide you about the drawbacks of looking at the sun with binoculars. So, stay with us as we are going down into the explanation.

Also Read: Best Binoculars for Astigmatism

Why you cannot Look at the Sun?

Looking at the sun through binoculars is very dangerous. When you look at the sun through binoculars, the UV radiation from the sun enters your eyes. The structure of the whole eye is very sensitive. These UV rays will go to the eyeball and then to the retina which is the most light-sensitive part of the eyes. 

When these rays reach the retina, then they start ionizing the tissues and produce free radicals which are damaging to your eyes. The ionization of tissue leads to the destruction of cons and rods of photoreceptors of the eyes. If you keep your eyes on the sun through binoculars, chances are high that the cons and rods will be destroyed completely.

The destruction of cons and rods is called solar retinopathy which can make you blind permanently or for a short term. Keep in mind that the intensity of light coming and reaching your eyes is so strong that it can cause retinopathy in just a few seconds i-e 3 to 6.

If you keep seeing the sun, you will feel like your eyes are burning. The pain will be intense and unbearable. Moreover, keeping your eyes at the sun for ten seconds can make your eyes damaged, making you blind permanently.

Experimental Verification

An English astronomer conducted an experiment to check the effect of the sun’s light on the human eye. For this experiment, he used a pig’s eyes (Dead pig) and placed them in the front of the telescope directed toward the sun. 

After a few seconds, he was able to sense the burning smell. Later, he found that the intense UV rays started damaging the pig’s eyes and starting the ionization of tissues and other cells. He concluded that using a telescope or binoculars for viewing the sun is totally a foolish idea and one can even lose his eyes.

Is the Damage Permanent?

Well, the extent of damage depends on the duration that you keep your eyes at the sun. It is wise to note that looking at the sun for one second is not going to hurt you. Although your eyes will blink quickly and then they will be fine. However, if you keep staring at the sun for 10 seconds the damage will be large. In fact, prolonged staring at the sun can make you blind permanently. 

Is Recovery Possible After The Eyes Are Damaged By The Sun Rays?

Yes, but it majorly depends on the extent of the damage. If you’re staring at the sun for very few seconds then chances are high that you will be fine after a few months. But if the impact of UV rays on your eyes is severe, then you will have to undergo extensive medical treatments to get things recovered. Sooner or later, you will recover from the sunlight attack. In mild damage, you will be fine in 4 to 6 months. Otherwise, it will take 12 months to recover completely if the effect of light is harsh.

Signs that your eyes are affected

There can be two types of attacks on your eyes. If you start for a few seconds, then you will be fine in just a few seconds without any treatment. However, if you keep your eyes on the sun for 5 to 6 seconds then you will note the following symptoms

  • Headache
  • Feeling of dizziness
  • Water coming from the eyes

These signs show that you’re fine and your eyes will be fine after a few hours. However, things can get worse if you keep your eyes on the sun for more than ten seconds. If you do so, then you will observe the following symptoms

  • Sore eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • The problem in distinguishing colors
  • Burning sensation or intense pain in the eyes

However, regardless of the type of symptoms you observe, we recommend you go to your doctor immediately and have suitable medical treatment to avoid any prolonged problems in your eyes. 


Looking at the sun is a dangerous act as we stop you from doing such irresponsible acts. The consequences are very harsh and you may end up losing your eyesight. Keep in mind that myths that you hear about binoculars are not true. Make sure to do research and don’t fall victim to those false myths. We hope this guide will be helpful to you.

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