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Eye hurts after looking at the sun directly

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I looked at the sun for a few seconds on accident and afterwards my eye hurts. Now 11 hours later and after using eye drops, one of my eyes still mildly hurts (feels sunburnt - a little dry). I am in Rural Argentina and can't get to a hospital until tomorrow morning. Is there anything I can do? Do I need to go to a doctor? Can I wait the night? What should I do?

Category: Ophthalmologist

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.


Thank you for asking your query at DoctorSpring.

I discussed your concern with our team Ophthalmologist. The condition you are having is Photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis. This occurs as an acute syndrome that occurs after ultraviolet irradiation of the eyes (which happens when you look directly at sun)

Thankfully the condition is self-limiting and will resolve by itself. So you can safely wait for the night. But please make sure that you are not looking at a light source directly for 48 hours. Also it is better to wear a good quality sunglass which can prevent exposure to UV rays. As I said the condition will generally resolve by itself. If there is a troublesome pain an OTC pain medication like Ibuprofen could be used (400mg twice daily). I am not sure what eye drops you are using, but it’s better not use anything for now. Your Doctor might prescribe you Lubricant antibiotic ointments, cycloplegics (to relax your eye muscles) or even an eye patch after doing an eye exam. But in most of the cases no treatment is required.

Hope this helps
Please feel free to ask followup queries
Thank you

Patient replied :

It is nearing the 48th hour and it feels better, but not 100%. Can I look at a computer screen if I have sunglasses on? Would it be best to stay in a dark room until fully healed?



Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.

Hello Reuben,

You need not stay in a dark room. Just avoid looking at bright objects or light source. You may look at computer screens. But computer screens are better avoided for long periods till all the discomfort is gone. Keep the brightness low. There are no harmful radiations from the screen, just that it might slightly increase the uneasiness.

Hope this helps
Thank you

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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