Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Verify your medical group

Refer to your insurance card or call your insurance provider to determine your medical group.

You can also search for your primary care doctor to find the medical group you and your doctor belong to.

FollowMyHealth®
Driving Directions
Cart
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

Can you sunburn your eyes?

Aug. 17, 2022

Woman looking at the sun

We all know the damaging effects the sun can have on our skin, but did you know you can get a sunburn on your eyes?

An eye sunburn, called photokeratitis, occurs when ultraviolet (UV) rays cause damage to the surface of the eyes. Exposure to UV rays can cause inflammation within the eye, specifically to the corneas.

Dr. Jennifer Tam, a Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group optometrist, answers your top 4 questions about sunburned eyes.

1. What are symptoms of sunburned eyes?

Just as having a sunburn on the skin can be painful and uncomfortable, photokeratitis can cause pain to the eyes. Other symptoms include redness, a gritty feeling and swelling in the eyes; blurred vision; watery eyes; sensitivity to bright light; headache; seeing halos; and twitching of the eyelids.

2. How can you treat sunburned eyes?

If you have symptoms from photokeratitis, avoid rubbing your eyes. Try to stay indoors or wear UV-blocking sunglasses to reduce the amount of light exposure. If you wear contact lenses, you should remove them to prevent further irritation. The following steps can also provide relief:

  • Use a washcloth to create a cold compress and place it over closed eyes to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Try artificial tears to lubricate the eyes and reduce the gritty feeling.
  • Take an over-the-counter, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, to help reduce inflammation and irritation to the eye.

The condition can sometimes resolve without treatment in a few hours to days, but if the pain is severe or your vision has been affected, then medical treatment is needed. An eye care physician may prescribe eye drops for treatment.

3. How can you prevent sunburned eyes?

The best way to protect your eyes is to wear proper eye protection, such as sunglasses, that block 99% to 100% of UVA/UVB rays. UV-blocking goggles are also an option for protection during winter activities.

Wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, even on cloudy days, because UV rays can penetrate clouds. For additional protection, you can also wear a large, wide-brimmed hat.

4. Why is it important to protect your eyes from the sun?

Protecting your eyes from the sun reduces the risk for developing certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, eyelid cancers or macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes vision loss. Long-term chronic exposure can also lead to tissue buildup on the eye, called pinguecula or pterygium.

“UV rays reflect off sand, water, ice or snow during activities such as hanging out at the beach, snowboarding or skiing, hiking, sailing or fishing,” says Dr. Tam. “Be outdoor smart and make sure you are protecting your skin with sunscreen and eyes with proper eyewear and a wide-brimmed hat. Your eyes will thank you later.”

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us

Call 1-800-827-4277 or view our detailed phone directory.

For medical or psychiatric emergencies, call 911 immediately.


Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth
Optional


What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process your price estimate if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.