Can Eyes Get Sunburned?

Can Eyes Get Sunburned?

Although exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun or artificial sources, like a tanning bed, can be damaging to your vision, your eyes do not get sunburned the same way your skin does. They will not turn pink or red, or become a darker color.

When eyes are sunburned, this usually means that the retina (the layer in the back of the eye that is very sensitive to light) or that the cornea (the colored part of your eye) has been damaged.

Can Eyes Get Sunburned?Have you ever looked directly at the sun? The way you most likely react to the bright light is by squinting your eyes or shielding them with your hand. It definitely isn’t a comfortable feeling! In a sense, the UV rays hurt your eyes so much that you do not want to stare at the sun for too long, which is something that you shouldn’t do anyway. If you damage your retina, you could impair your vision or even become blind.

How Light Affects Your Eyesight

The term used to describe eyes that have been damaged by natural or artificial UV rays is called “photokeratitis.” What a mouthful! There is a variety of other terms to describe this eye condition, some that are easier to pronounce than others. Each term describes the different ways that exposure to light can negatively affect a person’s eyesight.

For instance, “flash burn” or “welder’s flash” is used when eyesight is affected by a sudden rush of UV light that comes from something like a welder’s torch. Snow blindness is a way to describe photokeratitis that is caused by the reflection of the sun’s UV rays off of snow.

No matter what you call it, when eyes are “sunburned,” it means that the corneas have been damaged by natural or artificial ultraviolet rays. In general, symptoms of sunburned eyes include severe pain in the eye, teary eyes, and the feeling as if there is sand in your eyes. Your eyesight also becomes even more sensitive to light.

Cataracts are another condition that may occur when your eyes are exposed to direct light over a long period of time. Cataracts develop slowly over a number of years, and can eventually lead to blindness. If you ever see someone with a cloudy covering over one or both of their eyes, they most likely have cataracts. This eye condition is a typical sign of aging, as it is more commonly seen in older adults.

When it comes to proper eye protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun or artificial sources, most people turn to sunglasses or other protective eyewear that have UV protection.

We are bombarded with advertisements that insist that sunglasses are the best solution to protecting your eyes from the sun. Perhaps you thought that wearing wide-brim hats, sunglasses, or goggles are essentially the only ways to effectively prevent damage from natural or artificial light.

Although it is often recommended that you were protective eyewear with 100-percent UV protection, there are alternative ways to prevent vision problems as a result of exposure to natural or artificial light.

Healthy Diet, Healthy Vision

Do you remember the countless times your mother reminded you to eat your carrots? Well, she was right! Vitamin A, found in carrots, keeps your retinas healthy and your vision clear. It can also prevent cataracts. Vitamin C is another important antioxidant that can prevent cataracts. You can get vitamin C from orange juice, collard greens, and other leafy greens.

Like other parts of your body, your eyes greatly benefit from a healthy diet. There are actually 17 essential vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements that can help you maintain healthy vision, including vitamins A and C. Scientific research has proven that these 17 vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can prevent cataracts, as well as other debilitating eye conditions such as glaucoma.

How to Treat Impaired Vision

Many people use eyeglasses or contact lenses to improve their eyesight. Did you know that wearing contact lenses on a regular basis could actually worsen your eyesight? As the years go by, your prescription might have gotten stronger because your eyesight has become weaker. Corrective lenses do not improve your natural eyesight; they simply help you see well. Once you take them off, however, your vision is blurry. Your vision has not been cured.

Some people shell out the money to get LASIK eye surgery, but after a few years, they have to go back to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. They probably spent thousands of dollars for this surgical procedure. Even if the LASIK eye surgery successfully corrected their vision for five to 10 years, at the end of the day, it was still just a temporary fix. Again, their impaired vision has not been cured.

Another solution to treating impaired vision is with exercise, which is a less common method that people use. A healthy diet combined with regular eye exercises can literally change the way you view the world! How do you exercise your eyes exactly? Try a few.

Prevention is the key to protecting your eyes from UV rays. You have many options that can help you improve or maintain your vision. Remember: diet and exercise is not just for your muscles and your heart! They also keep your eyesight healthy and sharp.

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  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Robby Cottle says:

    – 4.5 left eye,, – 1.5.right eye, sunburned retina left eye, and astigmatism left eye. Should I just get a white cane with red tip, o rf is Lasik good for me?

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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