Not Just Your Skin, But Your Eyes Can Get Sunburnt Too. Here's All You Need To Know

Ever wondered what harm can sun have on your eyes? Here's that you need to know how sunburn can happen in the eyes too

Vani Malik
Written by: Vani MalikUpdated at: Apr 23, 2020 18:10 IST
Not Just Your Skin, But Your Eyes Can Get Sunburnt Too. Here's All You Need To Know

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In summers, exposure to sunlight can burn the surface of the eye, which can cause a temporary or permanent problem known as photokeratitis (Sunburn). Sunlight emits dangerous radiations known as UV radiations. We all have studied that UV radiations from the sun can be the leading cause of skin cancer. But most of us are not aware that it can severely affect our eyelids, cornea and other major parts of the eye. Dr. Mahipal Singh Sachdev, Director, Centre For Sight says, "Excessive exposure can contribute to major eyes problems like cataract and cancer of eyelids and skin around the eyes. The eye may be at a greater risk from the sun than the skin. The skin has the capacity to adapt to UV radiation by producing melanin (tan) that protects against UV exposure.  The eye does not develop a tolerance to UV rays, but become more sensitive with repeated exposure and the effect on the eye is cumulative."


Also Read: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Those Early Morning Swollen Eyelids

Symptoms Of Sunburn In Eyes

The natural reaction of the eye when exposed to direct or reflective light is to squint, as it tries to block out the glare, which is at best uncomfortable. Other cosmetic UV damage to the skin around eyes, otherwise known as “Photo ageing” manifests itself as dryness, sagging or loss of elasticity and mottled pigmentation. The other indicatory symptoms include pain or burning sensation and sensitivity to light exposure accompanied by headache ad redness in the eyes, some may also have blurred vision.  

Understanding Is Conjunctiva

Dr Sing explains, "Conjunctiva is the transparent membrane lining between the eye lid and the white portion of the eyeball. Any bacterial or viral infection if caused can lead to inflammation of small blood vessels in the conjunctiva leading to redness of the eye. This condition is known as conjunctivitis.  Being contagious this needs to be treated in order to prevent the spread. Though this condition does not affect the vision, but the irritation can cause severe discomfort."


Redness or Pinkish colour is due to the inflammation of the blood vessels in the eyes which may cause irritation along with pain, sensation of itching and feeling of a foreign particle stuck inside, and some may have blurred vision with or without light sensitivity.  

Care tips for eyes to before going out in the sun?

Preventive measures to follow: 

  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes, neck, and head.
  • Wear close-fitting sunglasses, wide lenses one to protect you from several angles.
  • The UV protection is not related to how dark lens is, sunglasses tinted green, red may offer the same dark lenses.
  • Some contacts have UV Protection but Sunglasses maximize protection from UV radiations.
  • Add UV tinted films to home, car and business windows to block UV radiation.


Also Read: Accidental Falls Is Greater In Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients, Explain Experts

Eye Problems That Can Happen Due To Sun Exposure? 

Dr Singh concludes, "UV exposure can also lead to macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness and develop cataract with increasing age. Other complications include skin cancer, loss of vision, and even ocular cancer. While irrespective of age, gender, everyone is at equal risk and no one is immune from UV radiations and sunlight-related eye disorders. Anyone can get disorders of eyes like cataract, macula that can lead to impaired loss of vision. Even children are not immune to the ocular damage from UV radiations. They spend more time in sunlight than adults. It is advised that Children should wear the lens of plastic rather than glass for added impact protection."

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