Although you can hardly stare at the bright sun for long periods, looking straight at the sun even for a few seconds can damage your eyesight. You may be tempted to stare at the sun longer during a solar eclipse. The sun contains harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays which enter the eye through the lens and onto the retina. The UV rays now absorbed into the retina form free radicals that begin oxidizing nearby tissues. Ultimately, the rods and photoreceptors in the retina are destroyed. Staring at the sun for about 100 seconds can permanently damage your retina. Although total blindness is rare, your vision is significantly impaired or you may develop legal blindness.