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How to Get Sunscreen Out of Your Eyes

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A woman wearing a hat at the beach putting sunscreen on her face.

The sun’s warm embrace can be invigorating, prompting us to spend more time outdoors. As we revel in nature, protecting our skin with sunscreen becomes paramount. However, accidents happen, and sunscreen might find its way into our eyes, causing discomfort and irritation.

When sunscreen gets into your eye, it can cause discomfort and irritation. The severity of the irritation can vary depending on several factors, including the sunscreen’s ingredients, the amount that enters the eye, and individual sensitivity.

It’s essential to remember that the effects of sunscreen in the eye are generally temporary and should subside once the sunscreen is flushed out and the irritation is resolved.

If sunscreen does enter your eye, rinse your eyes with cold water after washing your hands. Do not put any pressure on your eyes, and seek medical assistance if symptoms persist after these steps. 

Steps to Take If You Get Sunscreen in Your Eyes

Our eyes are a precious gift, allowing us to perceive the world around us. Safeguarding their health is crucial. Whether it’s sunscreen or other foreign particles, when something enters the eyes, it can lead to irritation, redness, and a stinging sensation. Knowing how to handle such situations is essential to prevent any potential complications.

Rinse with Clean Water

When sunscreen makes its way into your eyes, the first step is to act swiftly and rinse with clean, lukewarm water. Head to the nearest sink or use a water bottle to gently pour water over your eyes while keeping them open. Do this for at least 15 minutes. Allow the water to flow from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner to help wash away the sunscreen particles.

Blink Rapidly

In some cases, blinking rapidly can stimulate the eyes to produce natural tears, which may help wash away the sunscreen particles. Though it might be uncomfortable, avoid rubbing your eyes, as this can further aggravate the irritation.

Use Artificial Tears

If the irritation persists even after rinsing and blinking, consider using over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops. These products can help soothe your eyes and wash out any remaining sunscreen residue.

Restore Vision Center can provide recommendations on reputable brands of artificial tears, as well as offer insights into any potential risks or allergies that may arise from using these products.

A man rinsing his eyes with clean water to try and get sunscreen out.

Common Symptoms & Effects of Sunscreen in The Eye

Burning Sensation: The chemicals present in sunscreen can cause a burning or stinging sensation in the eye. This discomfort may range from mild to intense, depending on the individual.

Redness: The eye’s conjunctiva, a thin and transparent layer covering the white part of the eye, can become irritated and appear red.

Tearing: The eye’s natural response to irritation is to produce tears to wash away the foreign substance. As a result, you may experience increased tearing or watery eyes.

Blurry Vision: The presence of sunscreen particles can temporarily disrupt the surface of the eye, leading to blurry vision until the irritants are flushed out.

Eye Swelling: In some cases, the eye may become slightly swollen due to the irritation caused by the sunscreen chemicals.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your eyes continue to feel irritated, or if you experience persistent discomfort after attempting the above methods of relief, it’s crucial to seek professional eye care help. Don’t hesitate to contact Restore Vision Center to schedule an appointment with one of their skilled eye specialists. They can conduct a thorough eye exam and provide personalized treatment to ensure your ocular health remains intact.

The Expertise of Restore Vision Center

Preventing sunscreen from getting into your eyes can be achieved by applying it carefully, avoiding excessive rubbing of your face after application, and using sunscreen formulas specifically designed for sensitive skin or eyes.

Restore Vision Center is ready to assist you with any eye-related concerns or emergencies. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal eye health. 

The next time sunscreen causes irritation in your eyes, remember these tips to help allow you to continue enjoying life’s beautiful moments with crystal-clear vision.

Written by Tracy Eickhoff

Dr. Tracy Eickhoff grew up in Friendswood, Texas and graduated from Friendswood High School. She went on to attend Texas A&M University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Science in 2004. From there she attended the University of Houston College Of Optometry where she received her Doctor of Optometry Degree in 2008. She is a member of The American Optometric Association, The Texas Optometric Association, and The Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society, The Ocular Nutrition Society, and has served as Adjunct Clinical Faculty at The University of Houston College of Optometry.

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