Happy children with parents running in parkCan you get sunburned eyes? The short answer is YES. You can get sunburned not just on the eyelids and skin around your eyes, but also on the cornea (on the front part of your eye) and whites of the eye. Really!

The condition of having a sunburn on the front of the eye is called photokeratitis. You can get it by getting too much sun outside, obviously, but also by using tanning beds. You can also get it from very strong indoor halogen or fluorescent lighting. Any time you’re exposed to high levels of UV, your eyes are at risk from overexposure.

So, how do you know if you have photokeratitis? Here are some symptoms:

  • A gritty, painful feeling in the eyes
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision (sometimes)
  • Sensitivity to light

The good news is that most of the symptoms clear up within a few days, and your eyes will heal. But the bad news is that repeated exposure over time can lead to additional damage and even cataracts.

But you obviously can’t slather sunscreen on your eyes. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Take common sense precautions. Avoid spending too much time in bright environments, and use protection. Wear sunglasses that protect from the full spectrum of UV rays. Wear a hat, and seek shade. Stay safe!

Have questions about your vision, how to prevent eye damage, or need to talk through an issue? Please reach out to us at Utah Eye Centers! We can help you to avoid ‘feeling the burn.’ We look forward to meeting with you!