Suntan lotion is a part of many people’s skin care routine. Although suntan lotion is considered safe, it can cause mild irritation if it comes in contact with your eyes.
The mild irritation caused by suntan lotion is called chemical conjunctivitis. In addition to suntan lotion, this condition can be triggered by chemicals in a number of products including hair color, makeup or chlorine.
Symptoms of chemical conjunctivitis include redness, itching, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and discharge.
If you get suntan lotion in your eyes, wash them thoroughly with water. Rubbing and touching can make symptoms worse. If the pain does not subside, see an ophthalmologist.
Suntan lotion does not cause blindness. The worst possible outcome is corneal abrasion, which may take a few days to heal.
If you would like to avoid the possibility of eye irritation from suntan lotion, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat instead. Another option is to use a stick sunscreen that is formulated for the lips, which tends to be less irritating than lotions.
References and ResourcesUniversity of Iowa: Sun Protection and Sunscreens
Personal Care Products Council: Rumor: Sunscreen Exposure Causes Blindness
Dr. Weil: Allergic to Sunscreen?