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Corneal Flash Burns

Corneal Flash Burns Overview

Eyes, particularly the cornea (the clear window of tissue on the front of the eyeball), can be easily damaged by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from other sources of ultraviolet light, such as a welder's arc, a photographer's flood lamps, a sun lamp, or even a halogen desk lamp.

The cornea takes the brunt of the damage if proper eye protection is not worn, such as dark glasses or goggles while skiing in bright sun. A corneal flash burn (also called ultraviolet [UV] keratitis) can be considered to be a sunburn of the eye surface.

  • The cornea covers the iris (the colored part of the eye), focuses light on the retina, and protects deeper structures of the eye by acting like a windshield to the eye. The corneal surface consists of cells similar to those in the skin. The cornea is normally clear.

  • Corneal damage from a corneal flash burn or from a disease may cause pain, changes in vision, or loss of vision.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Ultraviolet Keratitis »

UV light is the most common cause of radiation injury to the eye. The cornea absorbs most UV radiation.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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