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What is solar keratitis?

07/01/2019 · Actualités

Solar keratitis is inflammation of the cornea resulting from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays at altitude without using protection

What causes solar keratitis?

Solar keratitis or actinic keratitis is a pathology that manifests itself in inflammation of the cornea. It is generally caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) when eyes are not protected by sunglasses.

Water gives off 20% of sunlight through the reflection of the light on the surface, which causes ultraviolet rays to bounce. However, reflection in snow is around 80%. Snow appears at altitude. The higher we are, the greater is the intensity of solar irradiation received by our eyes, as ultra violet rays increase by 10% for every thousand metres of altitude. This means that, if we fail to use protection, we can suffer vision problems including solar keratitis.

What are the symptoms of solar keratitis?

The symptoms of this pathology are not immediate. They appear during the hours that follow exposure to ultraviolet rays. Tearing, reduction in visual acuity, photophobia irritation, stinging, pain or red eyes are its usual symptoms.

All this is due to the damage and burning of the epithelial cells of the cornea and the conjunctiva that occurs when eyes are not protected.

How is solar keratitis treated?

If you have any of the symptoms you should visit a specialist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. The use of eye drops, artificial tears, creams or gels tend to be the medicines recommended to heal the wounds.

How can solar keratitis be prevented?

Protection is vital to avoid any type of condition. This is why we recommend the use of polarised sunglasses that comply with European CE standards.


Dr. Paula Verdaguer, M.D. PhD
COMB license number: 40.737
Specialising in cornea, refractive surgery and cataracts

Last modified: 25 November, 2020 - 13:28