Did You Know Your Eyes Could Get Sunburned

    Close-up of a beautiful woman's eye

    Now that summer is here, be aware that extreme heat conditions coupled with UV rays of the sun can play spoilsport and cause eye-strain. Unknown to many, eye problems tend to soar during the hot season and you need to protect your eyes from the ultraviolet (UV) rays just as much you protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV exposure. That’s because your eyes, like your skin, can get sunburned too!

    Protecting your eyes this summer is very important explains Dr Sridhar Prasadand Alcon India. Along with the risk of photokeratitis,there is also long-term risk with UV light being linked to cataract development.

    Risk of Photokeratitis – Photokeratitis is a painful condition affecting the thin layer over the cornea and the cell layer that covers inside the eyelids and the whites of the eye. Also known as ‘sunburn of the eyes,’ it is caused by exposure to UV rays of the sun. UV raysare a form of invisible radiation emitted by the sun that can alter a cell’s DNA.  An eye-care professional can diagnose photokeratitis or corneal flash burns by examining your eyes[1].

    Symptoms – Symptoms include burning sensation, red eyes, swollen eyes or lids, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, headaches, eyelid twitching, temporary color change, and/or glare and halos around lights. The symptoms should resolve on their own within 24-48 hours. If the symptoms persist, notify a doctor. They could use eye drops with fluorescent dye to examine the extent of UV damage.

    Tips to protect eyes from sunburn: While there are a few tools for preventing UV exposure to the eyes, sunglasses and contact lenses are the most effective. Polarized or 99-100% UV protective sunglasses and contact lenses with built-in UV protection help protect the eyes from harmful rays produced by the sun. You may want to note that not all sunglasses are polarized or UV protective. So please check the label or check with the retailer. In fact, doctors say that the larger the sunglasses, the more protection they will provide. For this reason, make sure your glasses cover the complete skin around the eye so you are protected against early aging and possibly even cancer.And Children also need to be protected from harmful UV Radiation as much as adults if not more.

    In the long run, prevention is protection. Preventing UV radiation from penetrating your eyes could reduce the risk for UV linked problems as well as eye-fatigue and eye-strain and slow cataract development[2]. There’s no compromising on eye-health!!

    [1]Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio study – https://nei.nih.gov/news/briefs/uv_cataract

    [2] NCIB – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21617534

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