Close-up portrait of a young woman with noticeably sunburned eyes, wearing a hat for protection

Be Careful! You Can Get Sunburned Eyes

We all know the importance of slathering on sunscreen to protect our skin during sunny days, but did you know your eyes need sun protection too? Just like your skin needs protection from the sun, so do your eyes. Strong UV rays can actually sunburn your eyes, leading to a condition called photokeratitis. It’s no fun, trust us!

While a temporary annoyance for most, sunburned eyes can have serious long-term consequences if we’re not careful! Continue reading to discover more about this frequently ignored concern and learn how to keep your peepers safe while enjoying the sunshine.

What is Photokeratitis? Insights into Sunburned Eyes

Sunburned eyes, also known as photokeratitis, might sound strange, but they’re a real and often painful condition. Essentially, it’s a sunburn on the surface of your eye, specifically the cornea, caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

These damaging UV rays come in two forms: UVA and UVB. While both can harm your eyes, UVB rays are the main cause behind sunburned eyes. They’re especially intense during the summer months and at high altitudes, and their impact is magnified when reflected off surfaces like snow, sand, and water.

That Hurts! Symptoms of Sunburned Eyes

So, how do you know if you’ve caught a bit too much sun with your eyes? 

  • Pain: This symptom is quite common, often described as a gritty or burning feeling.
  • Redness: Your eyes may look bloodshot or noticeably irritated.
  • Blurry vision: Things might appear hazy or out of focus.
  • Light sensitivity: Bright light might feel uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Tearing and swelling: Your eyes might water excessively and feel puffy.
  • Headaches: Sometimes, eye pain can cause headaches.

If you experience any of these symptoms after spending time outdoors, especially on a bright day, sunburned eyes could be the reason. Thankfully, for many, the discomfort goes away after a day or two. But making sure your eyes receive proper care is essential for a good recovery.

Simple Steps for Bright Days This Summer

Preventing sunburned eyes doesn’t need a complex plan. A few basic habits can help a lot. Just like you wouldn’t forget sunscreen, your eyes deserve the same care. Adding these simple steps to your daily routine lets you enjoy the sunshine and protect your eyes.

#1 Choose the Right Sunglasses

Sunglasses are your first line of defense against harmful UV rays. But not all sunglasses are created equal! Look for a pair that offers 100% UV protection, blocking both UVA and UVB rays. Check the label for “UV400” or “100% UV protection” to ensure you’re getting the best coverage.

And why not add a touch of style and sustainability to your sun protection? GOWOOD’s wood sunglasses collection offers a variety of trendy designs for both men and women, from the classic Los Angeles style to the chic, all-wood Toulouse frames. Each pair is fitted with UV400 polarized lenses, providing optimal protection and clarity while reducing glare. Not to mention, with their high-quality materials and comfortable fit, you’ll look and feel great while keeping your eyes safe.

#2 Wider is Wiser! Opt for Maximum Coverage

When choosing sunglasses, think bigger is better! Larger frames and wraparound styles provide more comprehensive protection for your eyes and the delicate skin surrounding them. This is especially important on bright days or when spending time in environments where sunlight reflects off surfaces like water, snow, or sand.

#3 Hats Off to Protection

While enjoying the outdoors, remember that even with polarized sunglasses and a hat, it’s essential to give your eyes periodic breaks from direct sunlight. During the peak hours of sun intensity, typically between 10 am and 4 pm, make a conscious effort to seek out shade whenever possible. 

This could mean relaxing under a tree, enjoying a picnic under a pavilion, or simply stepping indoors for a while! Giving your eyes these moments of respite allows them to rest and recover from the sun’s glare, reducing the risk of getting sunburned eyes or irritation.

Beyond the Burn

Experiencing sunburned eyes once might not seem like a big deal, but repeated exposure to UV rays without protection can have serious long-term consequences for your eye health. These include:

  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to blurry vision and eventual blindness if left untreated.
  • Macular degeneration: Damage to the central part of the retina, affecting central vision and the ability to see fine details.
  • Pterygium: A growth of fleshy tissue on the white of the eye, which can interfere with vision.
  • Skin cancer around the eyes: The delicate skin around your eyes is susceptible to sun damage and skin cancer.

Treatment and Relief for Sunburned Eyes

If you suspect you’ve overdone it in the sun and are experiencing the discomfort of sunburned eyes, don’t worry, there are simple ways you can take to find relief. First and foremost, get out of the sun and into a shady spot or indoors. Your eyes need a break from those intense UV rays to begin the healing process

One of the easiest and most effective ways to calm sunburned eyes is with cool compresses. Dampen a clean washcloth in cool water, wring it out, and gently place it over your closed eyelids for 15-20 minutes at a time. Do this as often as necessary during the day to reduce inflammation and ease the burning feeling. Also, non-prescription eye drops can offer necessary hydration and assist in relieving dryness and irritation.

For most people, the discomfort of sunburned eyes subsides within a day or two with these simple home remedies. If your symptoms are severe, lasting, or getting worse over time, your best bet is to see a doctor for help and advice!  An eye doctor can assess your condition, rule out any complications, and recommend further treatment if necessary.

GOWOOD Sunglasses Are Serious About Sun Protection

We’ve talked about how important it is to protect your eyes from the sun’s aggressive rays, and luckily, doing so doesn’t mean sacrificing your sense of style! Our collection of handcrafted wood sunglasses offers the perfect blend of fashion and function, ensuring your eyes stay healthy while you look effortlessly cool.

Each pair is fitted with premium UV400 polarized lenses, which means they block out 100% of those harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause sunburned eyes and other long-term problems.
Explore our collection of wood sunglasses and find the perfect pair (or two!) to accompany you on all your sunny adventures this summer.