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From official Marvel Universe wiki:

Due to a head injury, Cyclops is unable to shut off his optic blasts at will and must therefore wear ruby quartz lenses to block the beams.

From the same page:

Cyclops possesses the mutant ability to project a beam of heatless ruby-colored concussive force from his eyes, which act as inter-dimensional apertures between this universe and another.

When his eyes are always blocked by ruby-colored beam of concussive force, how does he see?

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This is how I've always understood it:

Grab a standard flashlight and turn it on. You've got a beam of white light.

Now grab a red color filter or a piece of cellophane and hold it over the flashlight. The beam of light is now reddish. That's the only difference between a red-colored concussive force beam and non-red one. Granted, your flashlight isn't projecting a concussive one, but Scott's ruby quartz glasses are dealing that part of the equation.

The optic beams aren't opaque, just as light coming through a filter isn't. He would see things similarly to how he sees things through his glasses/visor even without them.

I don't believe they've ever explained exactly how or why the ruby-quartz counteracts the optic blasts. But the fact that he can wear seemingly normal ruby-quartz eyeglasses without them being strapped to his head indicates that whatever/however it does it, the beams are weakened to nothing. That means no concussive force is bouncing around behind the glass.

  • That's not correct.. Without ruby quartz lenses, his optic blast is ruby-colored. You can see it in movie, when Jean says him to remove his eyeglasses.. she could control his optic blast. – I Love You 3000 Apr 7 '12 at 16:37
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    Another thing: Are you sure, his optic blast is electromagnetic wave? – I Love You 3000 Apr 7 '12 at 16:39
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    @SachinShekhar The optic blast is not an electromagnetic wave - particles from another universe transfer the kinetic energy in the form of gravitons – Izkata Apr 7 '12 at 19:08
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    @SachinShekhar I never said that his beam isn't ruby colored - I was using the color filter as an example of tinted colors and light. Even if he is emitting his blast, he would see as normal - just tinted red because of the blasts themselves. – phantom42 Apr 7 '12 at 19:51
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    @SachinShekhar I'm basing this off of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. They show the class from Scott's point of view, and it's tinted red. This is either from the glasses, the optic beams themselves or both. Since it's reasonable to assume that the beams still come out of his eyes regardless of whether or not he has the glasses on, one can infer that he's able to see through the optic beams themselves. – phantom42 Apr 8 '12 at 5:42
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Scott is immune to the beams, even if they bounce back behind the ruby quartz glasses nothing happens to him. I would imagine that everything he sees is ruby-tinted because as in one of the previous comments stated above, that is the "color" of the beam, and the sunglasses.

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    The ruby tinting has shown up in the comics, including one memorable occasion where he had to disarm a bomb by cutting the red wire and he complained that they all looked red to him. – FuzzyBoots May 19 '14 at 17:33
  • That's true and in the wolverine origins in the classroom it was red-tinted. – user26432 May 19 '14 at 17:41

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