Jun 25 2014

The weather is nice and warm so it’s time to get out there for some summer fun!  Summer usually means more time outside and more sun exposure, did you know it is possible to get a sunburn on your eyes?  They are more common than you think because most people would think the symptoms such as red, dry, gritty feeling eyes are due to other conditions such as allergy or dry eye.  Just like we are concerned with frequent sunburn causing problems with our skin it can also cause problems with the eyes in the form of a pinquecula or pterygium.  A pinquecula is simply a thickening of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of skin on the surface of the eye, they will usually be noticeable as a yellow spot on the white of you eye. As they progress you may start to notice a white scab that moves onto the cornea, the clear part in the center of the eye, this is a pterygium.  The best method for avoiding these types of problems is to protect the eyes with a good pair of sunglasses and a hat when you need to be outdoors for an extended period of time.  If you do happen to be outside long enough without your sunglasses to get a burn the best at home treatment is to start with a cool compress and a good preservative free artificial tear.  In cases like this the redness is due to an injury to the surface of the eye so stay away from medicines like Visine that get rid of redness because that can delay the healing response of the eyes.  In most cases the redness should go away in a day or two, if it doesn’t or if the symptoms get worse from one day to the next see your eye doctor immediately!  It is rare but a sunburn on the eye can lead to an eye infection requiring medical attention in order to prevent more severe damage.  So get out there and have some fun in the sun, just make sure you keep your eyes protected.

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