ODESSA, TX (KWES) - With warmer weather ahead, it's time to get more vitamin D. But as doctors say, don't stare at the sun, they aren't joking. Because just like your skin, your eyes, believe it or not, can also get sunburned.
It sounds obvious but this can happen when you either look at the sun directly or indirectly. In some cases, your eyes can get better with time, but other instances can cause permanent damage. Either way, wearing sunglasses is a no-brainer.
It doesn't always start from looking directly at the sun, but rather the sun's reflection, enough to where your eyes are exposed to too much UV light and it can damage them in two different places.
"One is the cornea and it's called solar keratitis or inflammation of the cornea just like your skin can get a sunburn." said Dr. Chase Jackson, Medical Center Hospital O.D. "It happens a lot to skiers who don't wear sun protection."
If the surface of your eye gets too much UV light, it can feel like a burning pain or a feeling that something is in your eye. You'll need special drops from the doctor, but the good news, is it can get better. Then, there's solar retinopathy, when intense sunlight burns a hole in the retina, destroying photo receptors that will never generate or grow back again.
"Just as if you ever burn anything with a magnifying glass, you hold the magnifying glass and the sun, that light is focused on the back of the eye at the macula, when that area is damaged, it damages your central vision," said Jackson. "Glasses won't help and Lasik wont help."
The best ways to prevent yourself from getting any sun damage to your eye, is the old-age of trick of putting on your sunglasses, everywhere the sun shines.
Doctors said although everyone will eventually get cataracts, when the lens gets cloudy, too much UV light exposure can increase your risk of getting it a whole lot faster.