Eye damage from sun in viewfinder accidentally?

Started Mar 18, 2010 | Discussions thread
Daniel Lee Taylor Senior Member • Posts: 2,078
Getting back to the original statement...

Graystar wrote:

VO2Max wrote:

Do not try this with and astronomical telescope though, you'll fry your eye!!!

From the stories I've read, you'll notice smoke rising from your telescope before you ever get that far!

This is false. You can destroy your retina with brief exposure to the sun through a telescope or through binoculars. The same light that can burn a lens coating can burn your retina in a fraction of a second before the lens fails. Never, ever do it or allow it to happen by accident, period. Anyone who comes through such an accident unscathed is lucky. Your eyesight is too valuable to leave to chance or luck.

This is why telescope enthusiasts abhor sun filters that fit over the eyepiece. Those filters take all the heat of the concentrated light and if they crack the light can damage your eye before your pain reflex causes you to look away. Only sun filters which fit over the front of the telescope should be used as they won't heat up any more than anything else in direct sunlight.

It is my understanding that looking directly at the Sun is not enough to cause damage to your eyes.

It most certainly is, even with the unaided eye. That's why it's painful to look at the sun, so that you stop before your retina is damaged.

The lenses of your eyes simply aren't collecting that much light. So any lens that gives you a 1:1 view (the ol' 50mm debate) or smaller is probably fine. Any lens longer is cause for concern.

No lens is fine, though the time one can endure sun exposure through an UWA is certainly longer than the time one can endure it through a telephoto. Max aperture is also a consideration.

The OP is probably fine, but do not underestimate the potential for sun damage to the retina. I think about it and take precautions every time I shoot a sunrise or sunset.

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