Summers are here and without a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you are putting yourself at the risk of developing sunburns. But did you know, your eyes can get sunburned too. Normally, we associate sunburn with skin and to avoid it, lather on sunscreens and take all other precautionary measures. But what should we do to avoid or treat sunburned eyes? Before this let us first know the causes, symptoms, and home remedies to treat sunburn.
How Does your Eyes Get Sunburn?
Prolonged sun exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn, this is called as photokeratitis. It is important to note that there can be a few other causes as well like reflection of sunlight off water or even snow, welding torch, photographer’s flood lamp, halogen lamp, solar eclipse, etc. Sunburned eyes are usually tender to touch, inflamed, with a gritty feeling, and often swollen.
Symptoms of Eye Sunburn:
- Swollen eyes.
- Gritty eyes.
- Blurry vision
- Temporary loss of vision also called snow blindness.
- Watery eyes.
- Warm eyelids to touch.
Precautions to Avoid Sunburn:
1. Wear sunglasses as they are more than just another fashion accessory. But always keep in mind to check for UVA and UVB protection before buying sunglasses. A rating of 100 percent protection is a must when it comes to sunglasses. Strength of UV sunglasses can be checked by following these few basic steps. If you can see your eyes through the lens then they are too light to block the UVA and UVB rays. Hold it in front of yourself and look at the lens. If the tint of the whole lens is not uniform then the UV protection is not identical for the whole eyes. These days contact lenses with inbuilt UV protection are also available so nothing to worry about in case you wear contact lenses.
2. Avoid sun exposure between 12 noon to 4 pm as it is during this period that the sun is directly above our heads, and there is a greater risk of sunburn during this period.
3. Wear sunglasses on cloudy days too. UV rays can penetrate through clouds, so do not take any risk.
4. Green tinted sunglasses are a safe bet as they reduce the glare and filter the blue light as well. Look for sunglasses that can filter blue light as it is supposed to damage the retina.
5. Wear hats and scarves when venturing out for prolonged period of time. It is always better to take precautions when ever possible to avoid serious complications like total loss of vision in later years.
Home Remedies to Treat Sunburned Eyes:
1. It is always better to seek a medical help before resorting to home remedies.
2. In case there is a delay in accessing medical help, apply a clean and wet cotton cloth over the eyelids and relax for a few minutes.
3. Frozen green peas can be used as cold compress to soothe tenderness of the eyes.
4. Apply completely natural aloe vera gel over the eyelids.
5. Moisturize the tender lids.
6. Use over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears to bring down the inflammation.
7. Do not rub your eyes.
8. Apply slices of cucumber over the affected area.