Sunburn can be described as when the skin is inflamed due to exposure of the skin to the sun and thereby causing painful skin that feels hot to the touch. Though sunburn is usually linked with the skin, the UV rays from the sun not only hurt the skin as it also causes damage to the eyes if it's not well protected from it.
What Is Eye Sunburn?
Eye sunburn, also known as Photokeratitis, is a temporary, painful eye ailment inflicted by exposing the eye to dangerous ultraviolet light. The symptoms usually last between 12 hours and 48 hours. Sunglasses block UV rays.
The leading cause of eye sunburn is the UV rays from the sun. When the eyes are not well protected from the sun, it causes damage to the transparent portion of the eyes in front of your pupil, known as the cornea. It can also damage your conjunctiva.
It is essential to know that it is only when the sun gets in touch with the eyes directly that you can have eye sunburn. It can be caused by objects that reflect rays, such as ice, water and sand. Using a pair of sunglasses gives the eye adequate protection against UV rays.
Symptoms of Eye Sunburn
Similarly to the pain and discomfort from sunburn, UV light can also cause temporary or permanent damage to the eyes, such as the eye lens, the retina, the cornea's surface area, the conjunctiva and the liaison.
The conjunctiva is a delicate mucous coating that consists of two parts. The first part coats and protects the white part of the eye, also known as bulbar conjunctiva, while the other fraction covers the inner surface of the top and lower conjunctiva. The conjunctiva can be affected by sun rays causing sunburn.
Your symptoms of eye sunburn depend significantly on how long your eyes are exposed to the UV rays from the sun. The longer the exposure, the greater the symptoms. The symptoms of eye sunburn include.
- Sore eyes
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to bright light
- The feeling of a sand-like substance in the eye
- Temporary loss of vision
- Pain in the eyes
- Swelling in the eyes
- twitching of the eyelids.
- Redness of the eyes
- narrowed and thin pupils (miosis)
How To Get Rid of Sunburn Eye
When you have, in one way or another, exposed your eyes to the sun and later find out that you have these symptoms, the first thing to do is to go indoors instantly. Stay in a dark place or try and put on sunglasses that block UV rays completely to avoid exposure to light rays.
Take your contact lenses off if you have any on them to prevent more irritation.
Avoid rubbing the eyes immediately after you notice that you have started having photokeratitis symptoms, as this can cause more damage to the eye.
Use a washcloth to make a cold compress and place it on your closed eye to reduce pain and swelling.
Use artificial tears to moisten your eyes and reduce the feeling of sand in the eye. Take an oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen which can be easily over the counter.
This condition can sometimes go away within hours to days without treatment, but medical attention is needed if the pain is severe or your vision is impaired. An ophthalmologist can prescribe eye drops for treatment.
After two days, if you still experience pain in the eye or vision loss, you must see a doctor.
One of the best ways to prevent sunburn is by putting on appropriate eyewears, such as Sunglasses that block %100 UV rays. Ultraviolet light goggles are also an option for protection during winter activities.
Wear sunglasses outdoors, even on cloudy days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds. You can also wear a large wide-brimmed hat for added protection.
Even though eye sunburns tend to fade on their own, lasting damage could be done to the eyesight due to repeat or excessive exposure. UV-blocking sunglasses are your best bet to avoid photokeratitis while you enjoy staying outdoors.
The eye is a delicate part of the body that needs proper care to avoid temporary and permanent damage. Eye sunburn is one of the damages done by UV rays to the eyes. The eyes are as fragile as your skin, even more delicate.
When we use sunscreen to protect against sunburn, we must try our best to protect our skin from UV rays. Putting in sunglasses with 100% UV rays protection is the best way to protect the eyes from sunburn.
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