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Feeling The Burn Of Sunscreen In Your Eyes?

By Essilor News

Summer is right around the corner, and whether you have plans to soak in the sun on the beach, at the lake, or even at the park, make sure you remember to protect yourself from sunburn and UV rays - but beware of the agonizing sting when sunscreen seeps into your eyes. While sunscreen won't lead to permanent eye damage, it does cause a chemical burn to the surface of the eye that can be painful for a couple of days.

According to Kory S. Cummings, O.D., an optometrist in Fort Worth, Texas, there are a few things you should do to minimize the discomfort from sunscreen in your eyes.

  1. First and foremost, don't panic. Remove contact lenses if you're wearing them.
  2. If you have it on hand, flush with lubricating eye drops; otherwise, water will suffice.
  3. Once the eye has been flushed thoroughly, use eye drops made without preservatives every hour to ease the pain. It's important to use drops that are non-preserved to ensure no additional chemicals are introduced into the already inflamed eye.
  4. Avoid using contact lenses for at least 48 hours.
  5. If your eyes leave you feeling extremely uncomfortable, close your eyes and let them rest.

Just when you thought nothing could be worse than getting sunscreen in your own eyes, you hear a spine-tingling scream come out of your child. What should you do when sunscreen gets in your child’s eyes?

"Children will typically be very upset and scared, because they don't understand that the pain will not last forever," said Cummings. "Flush their eyes and use eye drops made with no preservatives, as you would for an adult. A cold and wet compress over their eyes will also be very soothing."

Now that we know what to do to relieve the burn, here are some tips on how to prevent sunscreen from getting into your eyes.

  • Never spray sunscreen directly on your face. Apply it first to your hand, and then to your face, avoiding the eyes.
  • Look for sunscreens made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They adhere better to the skin than other sunscreens made with chemicals (octyl methoxycinnamate) and won't run as easily -it also won't sting, since it's chemical-free.
  • Avoid sunscreen near your eyes altogether and opt for 100% UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to shield the sun from your eyes.