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Patient Burden:

Acute exposure to intense UV light has been found to cause a “sunburn” on the ocular surface, causing severe redness, foreign body sensation, tearing, light sensitivity, and even chemosis (collection of fluid under one’s Conjunctiva causing an inability to close the eyes).

These conditions are extremely common and are very often seen in children who spend a considerable amount of time by the pool/skiing without wearing sunglasses and in people (e.g., athletes) who work/play in hot/sunny climates for hours a day. Symptoms last from a few hours to a few days.


Symptoms include severe redness (“Hyperemia”), light sensitivity, pain, excessive tearing, and blurry vision.

Photokeratoconjunctivitis can be prevented by wearing proper eye protection such as sunglasses or snow goggles. Sunglasses or goggles that block or absorb 99% to 100% of UV rays are recommended if you spend time outdoors. Wrap-around sunglasses or those with side panels are recommended to block all harmful UV rays. Glare from the snow, sand, or water can cause burns to the eyes even if it is cloudy or overcast.

It has also been shown that UV light can harm internal ocular structures, such as the crystalline lens and the retina, potentially causing and/or exacerbating the development of certain kinds of cataracts and macular degeneration, and UV Protection for the eyes continues to be strongly encouraged by eye care professionals worldwide. Many of these conditions can be prevented, halted, or retarded simply by wearing sunglasses when in the sun, but due to occupational and/or vocational limitations, people either cannot (or don’t like to) wear sunglasses, at least, not all the time.