Can eyes get sunburned?

While everyone knows that skin requires protection from UV radiation, many people wonder – can eyes get sunburned? According to the American Optometric Association, the eyes can get sunburned (photokeratitis) just like skin, and can affect vision and harm the eyes. These UV-A and UV-B rays can have serious long- and short-term effects and can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.

People with eye sunburn experience symptoms including a gritty feeling in the eyes, dry and red eyes, excessive tearing and intense sensitivity to light. Although this condition is rarely permanent, long-term exposure to the sun without proper eye protection can be harmful. Sunburned eyes are not the only concern — the Skin Cancer Foundation warns against cancer on the eyelid, a condition that accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers.

There’s more to sunglasses than looking cool!

Sun is usually associated with pleasure and well being. But a good protection is mandatory to enjoy only the best part of the sun. 

You are probably aware that UV radiation damages the skin… and therefore you protect yourself with a quality sun screen. But did you know that sun exposure can also damage your eyes?

Less than 10% of wearers worldwide are aware of sunrays dangers on the eyes… But UV rays are very harmful to the eyes. They are invisible but can generate short term or long term damages. 

On the short term:  UV rays can cause discomfort and reversible diseases like blurred images, inflammations, photokeratitis.

On a longest term, UV rays can generate:

- Premature Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD):  this is the leading (preventable) cause of severe and irreversible loss of vision.  

- Cataracts : this is the number 1 cause of blindness, accounting for 16 million people worldwide; over 3 million of these are probably caused by excessive UV rays exposure.(1)

- UV rays can also damage the skin causing sunburns, sunspots, premature appearance of wrinkles. In the worst cases, it can also lead to cancers (melanoma & carcinoma).

Warning!  80% of a person’s lifetime UV exposure is received before the age of 18 (1).  So it is critical to protect childrens’ eyes with quality sun glasses

Each year 3 million people go blind from prolonged UV exposure. 

Think about protecting your eyes with quality sunglasses to preserve your sight.

All sun lenses do not offer the same UV protection.

Essilor created the Eye-Sun Protection Factor to help you choose the right protection for your eyes.

(1) Muller A. Rugh R., Sun Protection in children and adolescent knowledge vs behaviortaylor Point de Vue 56, (2007), 9 

E-SPF is a new  protection index developed by Essilor, certifying the global UV protection of a lens. E-SPF = 50+ for all Xperio with Crizal Sun UV. Xperio without Crizal Sun UV E-SPF=25.  More information on and Measures:  Independent 3r-party. USA 2011.


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