UK heatwave: Expert issues warning on UV damage to eyes – main symptoms to spot

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Much emphasis is often put on the dangers of UV rays on a person’s skin, but little is thought of when it comes to the damage it can possess on one’s eyes. The condition known as photokeratitis can cause uncomfortable symptoms. An expert appeared on GB News to warn of UV damage on a person’s eyes.

Just like sunburns on the skin, UV rays can cause inflammation to the eyes, specifically to the corneas.

The condition is most commonly caused by extended exposure to sunlight or tanning booths.

A person doesn’t have to be staring directly at the sun to risk burning your eyes and can also be caused by reflections from the sun.

Appearing on GB News, Ophthalmologist Samer Hamada discussed the UV rays damage on the eyes and said: “There is actually 10 times more damage done on the eye than the skin.

He continued: “People often are more interested in protecting their skin but when it comes to the eye protection, there is very little about that.

“UVA and UVB rays which damage our eyes from the eyelids to the cornea and to the lens itself.

“So, there is a lot of damage to the eye from exposing ourselves to the sun.”

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When it comes to the best form of protection, Hamada answered: “There are a few ways, and we need to understand the UV light is more intense in the morning and in the afternoon.

“People often think the worst time is midday, but it is not.

“So, we tell people that from the morning until the afternoon they need to be very careful.

“In fact, all year round it doesn’t have to be just today with the UV day being in May and that is a good reason because they want people to be aware early not just necessarily in the summer.

“It could also be in the winter, anytime you expose yourself to the light even on a cloudy day the sun can damage your eyes.”

Symptoms of photokeratitis

  • Gritty feeling, as if you have sand in your eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Headache
  • Twitching sensation in the eyelid
  • Tearing
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Seeing halos
  • Constricted, pinpoint pupils
  • Temporary vision loss or colour changes in your vision (these symptoms are rare)

When to seek medical help

If the symptoms of sunburned eyes continue to plague you for more than a day or two, see your doctor.

You should also see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

Seeing halos

Blurred, fuzzy, dim, or distorted vision

Shadowy areas in the middle field of vision

Sensitivity to glare or light

Problems with night vision
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