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

Contact us to request an appointment today.

New Patients receive 15% OFF Second Pair of Complete Glasses!

Testimonials

  • Dr. Joyce is the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met. She is very intelligent, explains the eye tests and results, and offers suggestions to keep my eyes healthy. I consider her a friend as well as a fabulous eye doctor.

    - Doreen W
  • Dr. Joyce was affable and professional. Most thorough eye exam I’ve experienced. State of the art facilities. Friendly and knowledgeable office staff. Highly recommended.

    - Steven C
  • Very professional & friendly staff, very clean office with top of the line eye care equipment for extremely thorough eye care exam. Dr. Joyce in addition to examining my eye sight reviewed very detailed results of my overall eye health.

    - Stephanie B
  • The staff are friendly and competent. Dr Joyce takes time to explain any tests that were performed. Great experience.

    - Beverly K
  • Very thorough. explained what is going on with my vision and was able to fit me with contact lenses that feel great and now have no need for reading glasses.

    - Boyd D
  • Dr. Joyce is top notch and has all of the cutting-edge technology. I also bring my children to her. We used to see her when she was at Schwartz Eyecare in Newtown and we were thrilled when she opened her office in Richboro...even closer to us! You'll be well taken care of if you choose her as your ophthalmologist.

    ...
    Show More - Elle B
  • of the best, most thorough, articulate, accessible doctors I’ve ever seen. Her office is packed full of state of the art cool eye tools that provide incredible insight (oops... pun actually works) and she explains so that this non-medical patient can understand. This exam was most comprehensive. One of my eye doctors is a friend and even when visiting him in Santa Monica office, the time Dr Joyce spent with me was comparable. I only wish she had more specialties (e.g. dermatology, podiatry). I’m a patient now so I feel safe. You better call for an appointment now lest she stops taking new patients. Thank you, Dr Joyce!

    ...
    Show More - judy a
  • Dr Joyce was extremely pleasant, informative, thorough and professional. She took the time to go over all of my test results and explain what they meant. She was able to identify some personal care items that I could do to improve my particular concern. I was very impressed with her personal approach to her practice and patients.

    ...
    Show More - Henry C
  • This was my first time at Eyecare For You. The facility was very clean and the office staff pleasant. The young man who I was with in the beginning to do the initial check in process was very efficient, professional and it was very evident that he took his job seriously. I especially liked that he cleaned off each piece of equipment prior to my resting my chin and forehead on them. Dr Joyce was also very professional and personable. Her work ethic was spot on, and she explained each process very clearly and made sure I understood before she moved on to the next section. The equipment seemed to be the most current and I was overall very impressed with the care I received here. I will be returning.

    ...
    Show More - Karen B
  • Excellent experience with Dr Joyce and others on the staff. No need to get records transferred from previous eye care center. Eyecare For You appears to have the latest hi-tech testing equipment and will determine the best option(s) to improve your vision to its maximum capability. I expect my new prescription glasses with anti-glare coating will minimize glare at night and should allow me to see better than ever. Cost was very reasonable. I have already recommended two friends to call for an appointment ASAP.

    ...
    Show More - Dave T
  • Dr. Kathleen Joyce is absolutely amazing! I haven't seen her in over 2 years but she still made me feel like I just saw her last week. She pays attention to details and makes you excited to see her in the office! She really goes the extra mile

    - Cassi LP.
  • Dr. Joyce was thorough, explained procedures completely, and on top of that was friendly and very down to earth. I really could not ask for more!

    - Kathy F.
  • Dr. Joyce is an excellent doctor, diagnostician and communicator.

    - Catherine L.
  • Dr. Joyce make me feel welcome and, did explain everything about my exam results in detail.

    - Robert M.
  • Very efficient, competent, and solved my contact problems. Now I can wear them all the time without discomfort. Dr. Joyce is very professional yet friendly!

    - Jessica M.
  • Dr. Joyce is awesome she makes you feel at home and is very calm.

    - K. I.
  • Dr. Joyce is amazing!

    - Kevin H.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Hours of Operation

Call for an Appointment at (215) 485-5384

Monday

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday

11:00 am-7:00 pm

Thursday

Closed

Friday

9:00 am-3:00 pm

Saturday

9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Tuesday
10:00 am-6:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am-7:00 pm
Thursday
Closed
Friday
9:00 am-3:00 pm
Saturday
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday
Closed

Location

Find us on the map