Photokeratitis: Know the Signs

PhotokeratitisWe’ve blogged about photokeratitis before, and discussed the long-term damage that can occur to your eyes if they are not protected from the harmful rays of the sun. But do you know the signs and symptoms of photokeratitis? It’s important to be able to identify the early warning signs and symptoms of this UV damage so that you can take steps to prevent any further damage from being done if you ever find yourself out in the sun too long or forget your sunglasses.

Photokeratitis is a condition that results from the eye’s exposure to harmful UV rays. When you experience photokeratitis, the thin outer layer of the cornea and the conjunctiva – the thin layer of cells that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of your eye – have basically been burned by the sun. In essence, it’s almost like having sunburn on your eye, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

As you might imagine, having a sunburned eye can be quite painful. Sometimes, the symptoms of photokeratitis don’t manifest until much after the damage has already been done – somewhat like how you don’t always feel the effect of sunburn until after the sun has gone down. It’s important to know the symptoms though, so even if you’re indoors or the sun has set after a day spent in the sun, you can recognize that you may have photokeratitis.

The AAO lists symptoms of photokeratitis as including pain, redness, blurred vision, tearing, experiencing a sandy or gritty feeling in your eye, swelling, sensitivity to light, headache, seeing halos, small pupils, twitching and, in the most serious cases, temporary vision loss or changes in color vision. Of course, the longer you were exposed to UV rays without protection, the more likely you are to experience severe symptoms.

If you or your kids experience any of these symptoms, doctors recommend that you place a cold compress on your closed eyes and use artificial tears to rewet them. Your ophthalmologist may recommend certain pain relievers or antibiotic drops in severe cases, and he or she can make a more definitive diagnosis with eyedrops that can detect UV damage.

However, prevention is easy – just make sure you’re always wearing your sunglasses from Real Kids Shades whenever you’re spending time outside! Our eyes are such a sensitive part of our bodies, and especially the eyes of young children, so it’s important that we always protect them from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Take a look at our full selection of great sunglasses for kids and sunglass styles for youths online now and order your favorite design today!