By Brenda Fishbaugh
About the Author: Tanning industry veteran Brenda Fishbaugh is president of Eye Pro, Inc., makers of disposable eyewear. She travels extensively training salons on the effects of UV light on vision.

I often hear that a tanner will skip wearing eye protection because they forgot them or have an important event. Nothing will happen, right?  It’s kind of like not wearing your seatbelt one time.  It could be the time you get hit.

In a single tanning session, the greatest danger to your eyes is photokeratitis, or an eye burn.  It’s also called “welder’s flash” or “snow blindness.”  You’ll experience red, itchy watery eyes and many tanners describe the experience as extremely painful, as if they had sand in their eyes.  But its not sand in your eyes, that is your cornea peeling!  Photokeratitis is the most common reason a tanner seeks medical treatment after a single tanning session, as reported yearly by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

If you didn’t have tearing and painful eyes, then you probably did not burn your corneas.  Most other damage, such as night blindness, color vision loss and growths on the eye, are caused by repeated exposure to intense UV.  Remember, damage from indoor tanning and outdoor tanning accumulates over time, so please wear your FDA compliant disposable eye protection indoors and UV 400 block sunglasses outdoors.