Lazy Eye

Corneal flash burns

Fact Checked

Corneal flash burns are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light from various sources such as the following:

  • Halogen lamp
  • Sunlamps used in tanning salons
  • Direct sunlight
  • Welding torch
  • Reflection of sunlight from water
  • Flood lamp used by photographers
  • Reflection of the sun from snow at high elevation

What are the indications?

Within 3-12 hours after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, the individual might start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe
  • Bloodshot eyes
    Corneal flash burns
    Sensation of a foreign object in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensation of a foreign object in the eye

In most instances, both eyes are affected but the symptoms can be worse in the eye that was exposed to more ultraviolet radiation.

Self-care measures

  • If eye pain while wearing contact lenses occurs, they should be removed right away.
  • Sunglasses can be used if the eyes are sensitive to light.
  • Over-the-counter lubricants or artificial tears can alleviate the eye discomfort.

Medical treatment

In some instances, the doctor might decide to patch the eye to promote healing and manage the pain. Additionally, using sunglasses can also help in alleviating the pain.

Preventive measures

One way to prevent damage to the cornea is to use protective eyeglasses that are specifically coated to protect the cornea from the ultraviolet light. The labels on sunglasses indicate the degree UVA and UVB protection.

Protective eyeglasses usually include the following:

  • Sunglasses that provide protection against UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Masks used by welders
  • Completely dark glasses for tanning beds
  • Ski goggles that are used at high elevations

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on corneal flash burns is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage eye injuries including corneal flash burns, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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