Last week, Journalist and TV Personality Anderson Cooper shared that he went blind for 36 hours after suffering eye sunburn. Cooper was in Portugal where he spent ample time out on the water reporting for CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Cooper was not wearing sunglasses.
“I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire, my eyeballs and I think, ‘Oh, maybe I have sand in my eyes or something,” Anderson said. “I douse my eyes with water. Anyway, it turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs and I go blind. I went blind for 36 hours.” Other symptoms of eye sunburn include blurred vision, irritation, pain, redness, tearing and (like Cooper) temporary vision loss called photokeratitis.
Just like our skin, our eyes are susceptible to damage from the sun. Exposure to intense sunlight for even a short period of time can essentially cause your eyes to develop sunburn. Both short and long term exposure to UV rays could create vision problems and eye damage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation.
It’s extremely important to not only protect your skin from sunburn but your eyes as well. We’ve compiled some simple tips to keep your eyes protected.
1. Always wear protective eyewear outdoors
The sun’s ultra violet rays reach the earth’s surface even on cloudy days. Also, bright reflected sunlight from sidewalks, sand, snow, water and other surfaces can cause UV damage just as easily as direct sunlight.
2. Look for UV 400 sunglasses
Look for lenses that blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays (label could also say blocks 100% of harmful UV rays or UV 400 protection).
3. Size matters
Bigger frames mean bigger coverage. Look for wide temples so sunlight doesn’t seep in the sides of the sunglasses too.
Your eyes can sunburn too, so take care to be SunAWARE. We hope your eyes are feeling better Cooper! – Coolibar, Sun Protection You Wear
Main photo credit: Instagram