Can you sunburn your eyes?

Can you sunburn your eyes?

WE all know that the sun’s UV rays can be harmful to our skin, but what about our eyes?

Many people don’t realise that our eyes can burn when exposed to sunlight too.

Specsavers Opticas is on hand to explain this in more detail, as well as what we can do to prevent this from happening.

Jorge Martinez de Lizarduy Araico, store director of Specsavers Opticas in Benidorm, said: “Sunburned eyes, which can also be known as photokeratitis or snow blindness, happen when you are overexposed to harmful UV rays without the correct eye protection. This can occur when sunlight reflects off concrete, sand, water and snow. The overexposure to your eye damages the cornea’s outer layer, temporarily causing it to become inflamed and sore.

“As well as potentially damaging your vision, sunburn also increases your risk of skin cancer. In particular, basal cell carcinoma, which commonly develops on areas most exposed to the sun, such as your face – including your eyelids and the skin around the eye.”

Jorge said: “When your eyes are sunburned it can feel quite painful. Your eyes will go red or appear bloodshot and may also water. While they will feel very itchy it is important not to rub or scratch them as this could worsen the problem.”

He added: “Depending on the extent of the damage and sunburn, symptoms should ease within 24 to 48 hours. Moisturising eyedrops can also help with the healing process.

“Other symptoms also include blurred vision, sensitivity to light and the feeling of grit or sand in your eyes.”

How can you treat sunburned eyes?

Jorge’s advice is to swap contact lenses for sunglasses as taking out contact lenses will help to avoid further irritation, while sunglasses will help to protect eyes while they heal.  He also advised to stay inside, cool down eyes, avoid itching them and to see and optician.

He added: “The best way to protect your eyes from the sun is through wearing a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection,’ says Jorge. ‘Look for glasses carrying the CE mark, or the British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013), as this ensures they match up to the appropriate safety standards.

“Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also help shade your eyes and protect your face. It is also really important that when you are spending time outdoors that you never look at the sun directly as this can damage your eyes.”


Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check The Euro Weekly News for all your up-to-date local and international news stories.

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Written by

Sally Underwood

Originally from London, Sally is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a journalist for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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