While there is much to be said for the glamorous glow of a suntan, tanners often don’t consider how indoor tanning affects the safety of their eyes. Optometrists want you to know what the UV exposure of indoor tanning can do to your eyes.
Just as your skin can burn, so too can your eyes. Photokeratitis is the painful condition of incurring sunburn to your eyes. Don’t be mislead into thinking that closing your eyes or placing a towel over your face will protect your eyes from UV light, as this harmful radiation can penetrate both with ease, leaving you with eyes that feel gritty, burning, red, and watery.
Your eyes have a delicate balance of moisture that keeps them comfortable. The exposure in tanning beds (especially those with ventilation fans) is an eye safety nightmare that dries your eyes and makes them red and irritated.
Cataracts & Macular Degeneration
You might think that cataracts are something that older adults develop, but the truth is that prolonged exposure to the sun and indoor tanning beds could cause that condition to strike much earlier than you’d expect. Cataracts are diagnosed when the lens of the eye gets cloudy or yellowed, becoming harder to see through and differentiate colors. Macular degeneration steals the central part of your vision as deposits build up on part of your retina. Both of these conditions are exacerbated by UV rays.
Last but not least, indoor tanning beds have a tendency to create problems with your sight. Blurry vision is a very typical result of prolonged tanning time and may result with you having to require vision correction.
While it is obviously best to avoid tanning beds, if you choose to tan, ALWAYS wear the protective goggles provided by your tanning salon to protect against the dangerous UV rays that put the safety of your eyes at risk.