Solar retinopathy is like a sunburn on the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of your eye, Habash tells BuzzFeed Health. "The part that's damaged is the macula, the thinnest part of the retina, which controls the sharpest, centermost part of vision," she says, noting that this part of the eye is also more prone to burning than the rest of it. "It can take a few seconds or a few minutes for damage to be done — everyone is different."
As we previously reported, this can cause the center of your vision to turn into a grey or black spot, making it hard to focus on things like reading, driving, or even just seeing the people in front of you. That said, you probably won't go completely blind from staring at the sun. Although the macula is very important to our eyesight, it's still only responsible for one part of vision. "You won't go completely blind from damage to the macula, since you'd still have your peripheral vision," Schuman tells BuzzFeed Health.