Photokeratitis, also known as ultraviolet keratitis or UV keratitis, is an acute but very painful syndrome that occurs after ultraviolet irradiation of the eyes.

The exposure may not be initially apparent, as there can be 6-12 hours between exposure and the onset of symptoms. Any recreational or work activity with exposure to the sun has the potential for photokeratitis in unprotected eyes.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Intense tears
  • Eyelid twitching
  • Discomfort from bright light and constricted pupils.

Photokeratitis can be prevented by using sunglasses or eye protection that transmits 5–10 % of visible light and absorbs almost all UV rays. Sunglasses should have large lenses and side shields to avoid incidental light exposure. Sunglasses should always be worn when outdoors, even when the sky is overcast, as UV rays may be very high, even on overcast days.

At George & Matilda, we can treat the pain of photokeratitis and give advice on how to prevent photokeratitis from reoccurring.