Skip to main content
More Search Options
A member of our team will call you back within one business day.
The cornea is the clear cover on the front part of your eye. It helps focus light and protects your eye from dust and germs. Your cornea also filters ultraviolet (UV) rays before they enter your eye. Too much UV light can harm the cornea, causing pain and changes in vision. This is ultraviolet keratitis.
A slit lamp lets the doctor closely examine the eye.
UV damage to the cornea can be caused by:
Reflected sunlight from snow or water
Halogen lamps or welding torches
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight
Symptoms of ultraviolet keratitis appear 6 to 12 hours after damage occurs. Call your doctor or emergency services right away if you have any of these symptoms after light exposure.
Eye redness and tearing
Eye pain, which may worsen when you move your eyes
Flashing spots or flashes of light
Changes in your vision
Sensation of an object in your eye
Sensitivity to light
A doctor will ask about your exposure to UV light. He or she will examine your eyes carefully using a slit lamp (a magnifying instrument with a bright light). A special fluid (fluorescein dye) may be placed on the cornea to help show damage more clearly. Depending on your symptoms, you may have one or more of the following treatments:
Medications to help relieve pain
An antibiotic ointment to prevent infection in your eye
An eye patch to aid healing and ease discomfort
Call your doctor if pain or vision problems last more than 48 hours.
Never look directly at a solar eclipse. Doing so can cause serious damage to your eyes.