Did you know that Bruce Willis' real first name is Walter? Well, it is.
In Die Hard 3 (With a Vengeance) - Bruce Willis takes a spotlight to the face from a helicopter, courtesy of Jeremy Irons. Ouch. It's not a high pressure sodium light because that's like a street light. Obviously those don't have the same effect. Chances are that it was a metal halide spotlight, which is the cause for the sudden blindness. I wouldn't be worried about my VW's brights in my eyes, but a spotlight....yeah, a little bit.
Avoid the spotlight.