We all know that tanning without goggles in a sunbed is a dangerous act. But how many of us follow the instructions given by the tanning specialist? The fear of getting tan circles (raccoon eyes) force us to completely disregard the importance of tanning goggles.
The end result?
Yeah, we end up with a pair of damaged eyes. In some of the worst cases, the damage to the eyes from tanning beds is way beyond repair.
If you have read our article on how to lay in a tanning bed, you might be already knowing this is the first and foremost thing you should do while entering the tanning bed. In this article, we will see what can tanning beds do to your eyes, the consequences and the safe practices one should follow.
Types of Tanning Bed Eye Damages
Some of the youngsters think it’s safe if they close their eyes while tanning. Let me tell you it is not the case. Your eyelids can block only less than 25% of harmful UV rays. The other 75% is more than enough to permanently damage our eyes.
It’s very crystal clear: if you don’t wear tanning be goggles, you will damage your eyes. Here are the ways this unsafe practice is going to affect you:
- Long-term eye damage: Tanning without goggles is definitely an invitation for cataracts. They are formed in your eyes over long-term exposures and can eventually even lead to blindness.
- Sunburns: Sunburns are definitely a thing to worry about since it can lead to red, watery and itchy eyes. Even though it is just for a few hours, you wouldn’t want to step out with a well-toned skin but swollen red eyes.
- Inflammations: Eye inflammations like Photokeratitis and Photoconjunctivitis and conjunctival growths like Pterygium can lead to long terms effects like the reduced vision which cannot be rectified.
How Tanning Goggles Safeguard our Eyes?
It might seem really unnecessary to wear tanning bed goggles during tanning sessions when you can just close your eyes hard or maybe wear a sunglass. But that is really not the case since the eyes are really sensitive organs and are easily prone to infections.
Studies have demonstrated that exposure to the UV rays from the tanning beds can lead to severe eye damage to both its internal and external structure. The Ultra Violet rays can burn the corneas, which is a membrane that covers the pupil and iris.
It is important to realize that, if you are asked to wear sunglasses when you go out in the sun, then the UV radiation can cause a hundred times more damage. It is not necessary that effects of the damage that is caused to the eyes are immediately noticeable. But Yes, over the course of time small infections can become long-term damage or even lead to cancer.
So the protection of this delicate organ is of utmost importance. This is the reason why you need tanning goggles.
Consequences of Tanning without Goggles
Tanning without proper protection can lead to a lot of side effects. Exposure to the harmful UV rays can lead to short-term as well as long-term damage. As a short-term effect, it can cause inflammations like conjunctivitis, itchiness and blurred vision and eventually lead to degeneration of the eye muscles. It doesn’t take much longer for these to change to permanent damage like blindness, cataracts or even cancer.
UV damage is a cumulative process and it is not until the effects are irreversible will you really notice the real damage.
The most common kind of damage is the sunburn. These are of two kinds.
- One affects the cornea and is called photokeratitis.
- The other is called photoconjunctivitis and it affects the conjunctiva.
Both cause short-term damage leading to decreased vision, pain, swelling of the eyelids etc. Though it does not cause any permanent damage, they can be very painful.
Tanning without proper eye protection increases the risk of cataracts. Usually, they are common among old people but increased exposure to UV rays can lead to the formation of cataracts. They cause blurred vision and at times can even lead to blindness. Though it is usually operable, there are some cataracts which impair vision.
Another effect of prolonged exposure to UV rays is the conjunctival growth called the pterygium. This again can lead to reduced vision. One of the greatest after effect of the exposure to the UV rays without proper protection is that it causes cancer. Also called ocular melanoma, it can have severe effects
What if I accidentally Tanned without Wearing Goggles?
If you feel any slight irritation, reddening of the eye or blurred or hazy vision, please consult a doctor as soon as possible. Though it might not seem serious concerns these symptoms can eventually lead to more serious eye damage.
For inflammations of the cornea and the conjunctiva like photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis, doctors normally prescribe a topical solution which soothes the eye and allow easy healing. The pain, redness and the swelling usually last only for about 46 hours. But it is necessary that you should consult your doctor if your eyes are irritable and you have not used tanning goggles during your tanning.
If the blurred vision persists then there is the potential threat of cataract. They are usually removed by a simple surgical procedure. After the surgery, you retain your normal vision. But in worst case scenarios cataracts can even lead to blindness.
Pterygium, which is a growth of the conjunctiva is another effect of exposure to the UV radiations. You should immediately consult a doctor if you find any such growths. They are usually removed surgically but there is an increased risk of the growth to recur.
When growths like this turn malignant, there is the increased risk of cancer. In the preliminary stages, they can be cured by surgical removal of eyes. But if they have spread to the adjoin tissues then it could be a huge risk.
Pictures of Eye Damage from Tanning Beds
Here are some of the real-life pictures of damages caused by tanning beds to eyes:
Pic Courtesy: https://www.theodysseyonline.com
How to Avoid Tanning Bed Damage to Eyes: The Safe practices
- Wear tanning bed goggles: The best possible way to safeguard your eyes is to wear properly fitted tanning bed goggles. They are available easily and in different sizes and shapes to suit your requirement. Since they come in sleek designs, they can be easily strapped on. They are both comfortable and offer maximum protection with minimum coverage.
- Choose salons which are approved: It is important that you choose salons for your tanning that prescribe to safety standards and protection. It is important that the salons maintain their tanning beds and goggles in a sanitized manner. Since they are shared spaces, there is a possibility of contracting bacterial and viral infections.
- Use Healthy Tanning Beds: You should always try to use the best tanning beds out there. If you use low-quality tanning beds, there are chances of overexposure to UV rays. This will have damages to your body and eys. Even if you use tanning goggles, this may not serve the purpose if you use an unhealthy tanning bed. You can find some of the best and healthy tanning beds here: https://tanvogue.com/best-tanning-beds/
- Carry your own goggles: We cannot be sure if the tanning salons sanitize the goggles before and after use. So it is much easier and hygienic to carry your own tanning goggles with you. This reduces the risk of infections
- Use goggles which provide maximum UV protection: The goggles should be not just the perfect fit, but they should also offer maximum protection from the UV rays. So it is necessary that they be FDA approved.
- Disposable eye protection: If you are not carrying your own goggles to the salon, then it is much safer to use disposable eye protection like the wink-ease eye protection set. They offer protection and you don’t have to worry about sharing infections while sharing goggles.
I once again like to emphasize that the fear of getting tan marks around your eyes should never be a reason to not use tanning goggles. If you disregard its importance, you will regret later in your life. The tanning bed damages to eyes will not start in a day. It will take time to develop. So, you might not see the effects all of a sudden. In long run, you will suffer if you tan without goggles.
Now that you know about why you should be using tanning bed goggles, the causes and the effects of not using it; it is best advised that for a safe and healthy tanning, tanning bed goggles are an absolute necessity. And as you all know prevention is always better than cure.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing that smile on your face after having a wonderful tanning session.
My name is Stella Cristin, the owner of Tan Vogue. I am in love with beauty and health products. My great passion is to help people learn about tanning. Read More
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