Indoor Tanning and Your Eyes

Woman wearing tanning goggles

Indoor Tanning May Increase Your Risk of Certain Eye Conditions

A higher risk of skin cancer isn't the only disadvantage of indoor tanning. Spending time in a tanning bed can also harm your eyes.

How Indoor Tanning Affects Your Eyes

The ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by tanning beds are just as harmful as those produced by the sun. Although UV light does play a positive role in physical and mental health, frequent or prolonged exposure damages the tissues in the body, including those in the eyes. In many cases, the damage isn't apparent for decades.

Indoor tanning can increase your risk of developing these eye conditions and diseases:

  • Cataracts: Cataracts form when the normally clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. Symptoms include blurry vision, glare, halos around lights, poor night vision, and faded colors. According to a study funded in part by the National Eye Institute, UV light damages lens proteins, triggering the changes that cause cataracts.
  • Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis is a type of sunburn caused by natural and artificial UV light sources, including those found in tanning beds and lamps. Photokeratitis affects the sensitive tissues of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye, and the cornea, the clear, rounded tissue that covers the iris and pupil. In addition to redness, symptoms of photokeratitis can include pain, blurred vision, tearing, sensitivity to lights, headaches, and halos around light.
  • Cancer: UV light exposure may also increase your risk of cancer in your eye and in the skin around your eye. Depending on where the cancer is located, temporary or permanent vision loss could occur.
  • Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration causes blurry or blind spots in your central vision. Years of sun exposure can lead to the death of cells in the center of your retina, the layer of light-sensing cells at the back of your eye. Macular degeneration is the top cause of vision loss in the U.S., according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. In addition to central vision changes, macular degeneration symptoms can include trouble recognizing faces, difficulty seeing in low light, and faded colors.
  • Pterygium: Growths called pterygium may form on your eyes if you frequently use indoor tanning beds or lamps. The growths often develop on the inner or outer edges of the conjunctiva, the whites of your eyes, but can spread across the eye without treatment. Symptoms of pterygium include redness, pain, itching, and burning.

How to Protect Your Eyes

Tanning lotions or spray tans are a safer option for your eyes and your skin. If you decide to try a spray tan, be sure to wear goggles to prevent the spray from irritating your eyes.

If you're not quite ready to give up indoor tanning, reduce your risk of eye damage by wearing goggles every second you're exposed to the UV light. A good fit is essential. The goggles should fit tightly against the skin to prevent light from leaking into your eyes. If you're concerned about lines from the straps, adhesive eye protection may be an option. Look for goggles or protection that block 99 percent of UV light rays from entering your eyes.

Regular visits to the optometrist can help you improve and protect your vision. Contact us to schedule your appointment if it's time for an eye exam or you're concerned about pain, a change in vision, or other symptoms.

Sources:

National Eye Institute: New Research Sheds Light on How UV Rays May Contribute to Cataract, 6/3/14

American Macular Degeneration Foundation: What is Macular Degeneration

Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

We are closed for lunch daily from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Brier Creek Vision Care

Monday:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thursday:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Friday:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonial

  • "Excellent office. Staff is helpful and polite when dealing with my special needs child. They understand when he needs break and how to redirect to another technique to achieve goal. Would highly recommend to others!"
    Jennifer, Raleigh, NC
  • "I needed an eye doctor to see me for my concussion issue that effected my eyesight. There isn't many who are able to assess. Dr. Durham knew just how to work with my case in a gentle manner to help keep me calm. I finally have hope for healing now."
    Elizabeth 3/15/19 - Answer to Prayer
  • "Dr Durham is amazing. She takes the time to hear the patient and is extemely knowlegable."
    Susan 3/16/19 - Amazing
  • "All the staff were very helpful & Susan Durham was very thorough & professional"
    Jill 3/14/19
  • "Dr. Durham and her staff are the best and most knowledgeable dealing with brain injuries. Highly recommended!"
    Kristina 3/11/19 - Absolutely the best!
  • "Thought exam was personal, deteilrd and fully explained. Staff were prompt, kind, snd professional. I’d recommend Dr. Durham’s clinic to anyone needing eye care."
    Thomas 3/10/19
  • "The staff was very polite and extremely patient with my condition. Very specific about my condition and caring to help me recover. We will have a long road to recovery together."
    Elizabeth 3/11/19
  • "Didn't have to wait. Very thorough eye exam."
    Sandy 3/7/19 - Great eye checkup
  • "My visit was more than I could of asked for. I told my friends about my visit to the future. Dr. Dunham was extremely knowledgeable, concerned and determined to get it right, Her staff seemed to respect her greatly. staff was trained very well and gave me the confidence they knew what they were doing.
    I have already told my friends about my visit to the future."
    Patricia 2/24/19 - Everything was perfect.
  • "My daughter and I have have had great experiences at Brier Creek Vision! Dr. N. Is fantastic!! The office staff is super friendly, accommodating and very pleasurable to work with. Eye glass frames are plentiful and the opticians are helpful, suggestive and patient! Thanks to everyone for making all of visits wonderful!!"
    Cynthia 2/14/19 – Great Experience
  • "Dr Nakagawara is open, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Karim Glover in the optical dispensary took great care in explaining and helping me to get great value on a new set of prescription sunglasses that will do much more than my previous set. Extremely happy.
    Loved the Optician!"
    Thomas 2/22/19 - Great Doctors and Team...
  • "I cannot tell you how happy I am with Brier Creek Vision. Everyone from the moment you enter, all the way through the appointment, is knowledgeable friendly and caring. I receive excellent and professional care. Highly recommend!"
    Helen 2/21/19 - Excellent care
  • "Went from 20/30 to 20/20! The sky is the limit with dr Patel. Will continue to bring both my kids here...."
    Temidayo 2/17/19 - Dr Patel Rocks!!!!
  • "I have had nothing but amazing experiences here! The entire staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. I have never walked away unsatisfied."
    Shelby 2/14/19 - Awesome!
  • "This office has all of the latest equipment and skills to take care of your eyes."
    Wales 2/6/19 - Great eye care!
  • "The atmosphere in the office is very pleasant and welcoming. I always feel comfortable in both the waiting room and the exam rooms. Selecting glasses is also a breeze, as the staff is extremely helpful and knowledgable."
    Kris 1/31/19 - Amazing Experience
  • "Our family visit was over the top. The entire staff took their time and made sure each and everyone's exam was through. No pressure to buy glasses. Our experience with Dr. Nakagawara was outstanding!!"
    Melissa 1/31/19 - Recommend
  • "I always have the best visit at Brier Creek Vision. My Doctor, Esther Nakagawara, is the best at what she does! She handles the procedures with care, caution and concern, explains well and has the best solutions to keep your eyes healthy. The staff is accommodating, patient and very kind to everyone; they never mind answering questions. The opticians are helpful in assisting with the selection of eyecare that looks good and works the best for you. I have told many people about my positive experiences at Brier Creek Vision and recommended this office as well."
    Kailah 1/30/19 - The Best in Eyeccare!!
  • "My family and I have been patients of Brier Creek Vision for 2 years. Dr. Nakagawara is a very caring and skilled OD who communicates, teaches and plans well. The staff and optometrists are inviting, knowledgeable and very helpful. We have recommended BCV to all our friends and family!"
    Cynthia 1/30/19 - Highly recommend
  • "I was thrilled to learn about the new Shaw lens concept to treat my daughter's amblyopia!"
    Molly 1/30/19 - Excellent Experience