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Blinded by the Sun

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"Wait a minute... I'M BLIND!"

Not just deaf and dumb. I'm staring at the sun.
I'm not the only one who's happy to go blind.
U2, "Staring At the Sun"

The sun is extremely hot and bright. No doubt you were told to never look directly at it. Doing so will do some serious damage to your eyes.

However, some characters are dumb enough to ignore that measure of safety and look at the sun anyway. Maybe they don't consider the consequences, or they don't think it is dangerous at all.

Whatever the case, they decide to stare at the burning bright sun, and now they are blind... or at the very least writhing in agony at their eyes hurting.

Will obviously cause Eye Scream, and so, if this doesn't happen from looking at the sun, it's Harmless Luminescence. Subtrope of Can't See a Damn Thing. Compare Blinding Camera Flash. If the sun or other bright lights are used to blind an opponent for a combative advantage, that's Blinded by the Light.

Very much Truth in Television. Looking directly at the sun can cause severe retinal damage, even with sunglasses on. Looking directly at the sun through binoculars or a telescope will blind you permanently — Do Not Try This at Home.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Curious George (2006): When Ted attempt to figure out a riddle, he take note of it mentioning looking at the sun. He takes it literally and starts staring at the sun until his eyes can't take it anymore.
  • Hotel Transylvania: Transformania: After becoming human, Dracula finds out that he can safely step into the sunlight and not get burned. However, he doesn't realize the same doesn't apply to his eyes as he stares at the sun before complaining about them burning.
  • Luca: When Alberto shows Luca all the great things the surface has, he points out the sky, clouds and sun to him. He tells Luca not to look at the sun... before immediately taking it back as a joke. Alberto squints at it but clueless Luca looks up wide-eyed and promptly falls over from the surprise and pain at how bright it is.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deadpool 2: While he is dying, Deadpool mentions that he sees a bright light, only to realize its the sun coming up, and he clarifies not to look at it.
  • Heroes Shed No Tears: The unnamed Vietnamese Colonel tortures the hero, Chin, after capturing him alive by tying him on a rack, stitching his eyelids open and forcing Chin to look at the sun, as a retaliation towards Chin shooting the Colonel in the eye earlier in the film.
  • As narrated by the protagonist of π, he stared into the sun for too long when he was six and injured his eyes in the process. The incident had some lasting effect on his mental world, giving him the ability to perform complex calculations on the spot but also leaving him with paranoia and schizoid personality disorder.

  • Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin has a story by a man who attempted to learn the eternal truth by spending hours staring at the sun. The doctors did manage to restore his vision afterwards, but only in part; he can see the objects to his sides, but not directly ahead.
  • Father Brown: An early story features a charismatic cult leader who claims that he strengthens himself by looking at his god (the Sun) every day, and an ardent convert of his does so as well, shortly before her death by falling down an elevator shaft. The key to the mystery is that she was near-blind, but her Social Darwinist mindset forbade her to show any sign of weakness such as wearing glasses or even acknowledging it. The cult leader knew this and was trying to get her to sign all her possessions to him before murdering her by sending the elevator away and leaving the door open so she'd fall in. The victim's sister also knew about it and gave her a new will leaving everything to herself instead of the guru to sign.
  • Lords and Ladies: Two witches have a Staring Contest where they look directly at the sun rather than at each other. Neither of them are harmed, though a bystander gets a sunburn from the redirected energy.
  • My Teacher Is an Alien: An early hint that the teacher "Mr. Smith" is an Alien Among Us is that he can stare into the sun without any discomfort.
  • Pirate Latitudes: At one point, in order to escape pursuers, the Cassandra has to navigate a treacherous stretch of water with hazards that could easily sink her, but doing so means that the ship will be facing straight into the sun. Lazue, having the best eyes of the crew, manages to pull off directing the navigation, albeit in excruciating pain from having to look into the sun for so long.
  • RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant: In "The Man Who Stared at the Sun", a farmer and the sun make a wager; a Staring Contest. If the farmer wins, the sun will always provide optimal light and heat for his crops for as long as he and his descendants work the land. If the sun wins, the farmer and his family will praise and worship the sun and encourage other humans to do the same. The sun suggested the staring contest because they expected the farmer to lose to avoid going blind. However, the farmer is unwavering and eventually wins the contest. When the sun demands to know how the farmer could stare at them for so long, the farmer admits he went blind in seconds; since the damage was done, he decided to keep going and fake it. Although annoyed by the trick, the sun accepts the outcome to respect the farmer's sacrifice. The story's moral is that people only achieve success through sacrifice, but certain characters such as Professor Ozpin prefer to re-interpret the moral as "don't stare at the sun".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "Trek", a crooked archaeologist is tortured into revealing the location of a missing treasure by his equally corrupt prison commander. That includes being tied to the ground and forced to look into the sun. The torture wrecks his eyesight, which gets progressively worse when he is forced to walk through the desert in search of the treasure.
  • In The Terror: Infamy, Yuko Tanabe forces Hideo Furuya to look directly into the sun, causing him to become blind.

  • The Bad Lip Reading version of High School Musical rewrites "We're All in This Together" as a song titled "Don't Stare at the Sun." The chorus includes the lyric "Don't stare at the sun or else your eyes will burn and drip some goooooo and burn out!"

  • Urinetown: During the song "Look At The Sky", Bobby directs Ms. Pennywise to look at the "giant heart in the sky". As she does so, she declares that it's blinding her in anguish.

    Video Games 
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The player character can receive a vision of the god Rhalic, who appears to be staring wide-eyed into the sun until they realize he's gone completely blind. It's a symbol that the gods are in dire straits.
  • Super Mario Odyssey: Cappy will warn the player not to look directly at the sun this if they attempt to while using the Binoculars.
  • Subverted in Super Mario Sunshine. Upon collecting a certain amount of shine sprites, there is a spot that starts glowing. Standing in this spot and looking directly at the sun doesn't blind Mario, but instead teleports him to Noki Bay.

    Web Animation 
  • ASDF Movie: In one clip in the deleted scenes, the sun asks some guy to look over at him. When the guy does so, his eyes start sizzling.
    Sun: Ha ha! Now you're blind!
  • The Cyanide & Happiness Show: In the short "Staring Contest", two men decide to have a staring contest... with the sun. It ends with their eyes melting, and the sun declaring itself the winner.

  • Champions of Far'aus: Played with:
    • Karla (and other sarbling trolls) have very light sensitive eyes, to the point where she hurts her eyes just from looking at clouds (rather than the sun itself) on a lightly rainy day without her dark mask on.
    Karla: (looks up at the sky) "Too bright!"
    Flamel: "Well that - that’s the sun."
    Karla: "I’m looking at the clouds!"
    • Hyperion, a god of light, is able to put down rune magic for a spell that when activated, creates a ball of light that effectively functions as a miniature sun, and appropriately anyone who does not cover their eyes while it’s active find themselves in a great deal of pain, with a hard time seeing things properly.
  • Homestuck: Terezi became blind after staring into the blistering bright Alternian sun (a sun so bright that most Trolls are nocturnal). Specifically, Vriska manipulated Terezi's guardian into luring her outside while sleepwalking and prompting her to gaze into the sun. Terezi's blank, sightless eyes are the same red color as the sun.

    Web Video 
  • The Map Men episode "The world's silliest time zones" has a short skit of two cavemen who attempted to tell the time using the sun by staring at it. When one of the cavemen asks the other what time it is, the other says that he's gone blind.
  • The Nostalgia Critic: In his review of Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa, the Nostalgia Critic finds the movie's animation so terrible that he'd rather go stare at the Sun. While it still hurts his eyes, it's a lot less painful.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Picnic", Gumball and Darwin stare directly at the sun for several hours in hope they will find the right way after getting lost in the forest (since the sun is a star), which results in their eyes literally burning.
    Darwin: There are no words to describe the pain I feel right now.
    Gumball: Sure there are. [screams in pain]
  • American Dad!: In "Stan & Francine & Connie & Ted", Roger declines to use proper eye protection during a solar eclipse, believing his Transitions lenses (which adjust to changes in brightness) are all the protection he needs. The light of the eclipse is too much for the lenses, and Roger is temporarily blinded as a result.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: When Timmy wishes the world was an old black and white cartoon, it makes the sun able to speak and warns people not to look directly at him lest they go blind. Come the end of the cartoon, Vicky does exactly that and screams about going blind, prompting the sun to say, "I warned ya!"
  • Gravity Falls: In "Boyz Crazy", members of the boy band Sev'ral Timez, which were actually clones kept captive when not performing, are set free in the wild. One sees the sun and thinks it's staring at him, so he stares right back and burns his eyes.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In the episode "My Peeps", Billy ruins his eyes not only by looking too close at a television screen, but later staring directly at the sun, prompting Grim and Mandy to intervene.
  • Invader Zim: When GIR gets them lost, Zim attempts to use the sun to find their way home. As he stares, he ends up burning his eyes out, forcing them to wait until his eyes regenerate. He assumes this was caused by Earth inhabitants booby trapping their sun.
  • Jimmy Wichard from King of the Hill. Dale mentioned how he fried his brain from staring at the sun too long which explains why he's so stupid and crazy. Though, Dale also comments he must not have been bright in the first place since he did stare at the sun for that long in the first place.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Alluded to in the Newton Wolves rap when Good and Bad Billions both say not to do this when singing about their knowledge of astronomy.
    Good Billions: [singing] Red dwarf, white dwarf, brown dwarves are fun! If you wanna see a yellow dwarf look to our sun.
    Bad Billions: Well, don't look at the sun.
    Good Billions: Oh no don't do that.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "It's About Time", Twilight is trying to monitor everything in order to prevent an unspecified disaster that her own future self warned her about. This includes observing the Sun through a telescope—which she thinks has specialized light filters so she can look at the Sun safely. But unknown to her, the filters aren't attached, so Twilight temporarily blinds herself, forcing her to wear an eyepatch for the rest of the episode. The same eyepatch her future self was wearing.
  • Simba: è nato un re had Simba attempt to learn the sun's secrets by looking at it. He is stopped at once by a butterfly coming to cover his eyes, before one of his mentors arrives to tell him the story of a snake who attempted that... with predictable results.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Gone Maggie Gone", while watching a rare total solar eclipse, Marge gives her camera obscura to Homer after his own got wrecked. Marge avoids looking at the eclipse until it reaches totality, and she was still looking at it when it enters third contact, resulting in her retinas being burned for two weeks.
  • Solar Opposites: In "The Re-Visibility Bouillabaisse," Korvo mentions he threw out his blinding ray because staring at the sun does the same thing for half the price.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "SpongeGuard on Duty", Patrick stares directly at the sun while basking, causing his eyes to shrivel. When SpongeBob calls his attention, Patrick absent-mindedly takes a drink of water, rehydrating himself and returning his eyes to normal.
  • Total Drama: In "Are We There Yeti?" Owen looks at the sun with night vision goggles and screams that he's been blinded, though he recovers quickly.

    Real Life 
  • One of the cures William Bates proposed for myopia was sungazing. It had disastrous results.
  • A woman high on meth stared at the Sun for half an hour during a solar eclipse in 1999 and burned a hole in her retina, leaving blurred patches in both eyes that only healed after a few months. Here's the grisly details.
  • Sir Isaac Newton wrote that, after hours of looking at the reflection of the Sun on a mirror, he needed to stay for three days in absolute darkness to be able to open his eyes again without pain.
  • Patrick Moore was always insistent about this in his series The Sky At Night when discussing observable solar events as looking at the sun directly through any kind of telescope or binoculars would blind the viewer.
  • This video shows what happens to someone's Mark I Eyeball when looking at the Sun through a telescope using a pig's eye. Likewise, in an old astronomy book the author mentions to have forgotten he left a telescope pointing to the Sun with the eyepiece capped with a plastic cap, finding how just some seconds later the laser-like sunlight had open a smoking hole on such cap.


Video Example(s):


I, Farmbot

A side-effect of Bill spending all his time indoors being lazy.

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