As with the skin, the sun's rays can cause "sunburn" on the eye's surface, so it is essential to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.

The most harmful exposure to the sun is between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. because the sun is higher and the radiation is more potent. Protecting your skin, eyes and eyelids against these ultraviolet rays is necessary. 

This acute effect of exposure to ultraviolet rays, which is also called ultraviolet keratitis or snow ophthalmia, is an inflammation of the cornea. These burns are painful and temporary.

The symptoms of ultraviolet keratitis vary depending on the intensity of the exposure to ultraviolet light. The most common are: red and watery eyes, burning sensation and difficulty enduring intense light.

These risks can sometimes be permanent

Prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate protection can permanently damage eyesight. Indeed, the accumulation of damage after repeated exposure can lead to chronic eye disease. The sun's rays affect not only the surface of the eye but also its internal structure, including the lens and retina.


People exposed to the sun for a long time are at greater risk of damaging their vision if they do not wear adequate protection. This is also the case for people who live at high altitudes or who take photosynthesis medications.

Optometrists strongly suggest that people wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap and approved sunglasses that filter out UVA rays at 90% or more and UVB rays at 99%. 

Polarized lenses that reduce glare from snow and water reflection are appropriate for driving and outdoor activities, including water sports and downhill skiing.

Contact your IRIS eye care professional for sound advice on eye health and choosing the right sunglasses.