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We all know that sunglasses will prevent crow's feet from forming around your peepers, but if left unprotected, did you know that your eyes could actually get sunburned? Photokeratitis, or a burn of the cornea, is more common during the summer months, when the sun's rays -- UVA (they can age you) and UVB (they can burn you) -- are the strongest. According to Dr. Michael Pier, Director of Professional Relations at Bausch + Lomb, the symptoms of sunburned eyes include a gritty feeling (like sand in your eyes), redness, tearing, pain, and blurry vision. "Long-term unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays can damage your eyes by contributing to cataracts and macular degeneration -- and even lead to tumors that may require surgical removal," he warns. The eye heals quickly, so while most people will recover within two to three days, Dr. Pier advises consulting an eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Stay protected! The best way to protect your eyes is to wear a wide-brimmed hat and -- say it with us: Sunglasses are half fashion and half function, so find a UV-blocking pair. "If you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight, wrap-around sunglass frames can provide additional protection from harmful rays," says Dr. Pier. For contact lens users, he suggests wearing those with UV-blocking features, such as Bausch + Lomb's Biotrue ONEday lenses, which help protect the eyes against harmful UV radiation.