Photokeratitis (snow blindness, arc eye)

EBM Guidelines
Oct 22, 2019 • Latest change May 25, 2020
Matti Seppänen

Table of contents


  • Ultraviolet radiation may cause an acute keratitis (UV keratitis, photokeratitis, welder's eye, arc eye, snow blindness, photophthalmia).
  • Symptoms: severe pain, photophobia, sense of a foreign body in the eye 6–12 hours after the exposure; symptoms usually alleviate spontaneously within a few days.
  • Treatment consists of oral NSAIDs, ocular lubricant gels, antimicrobial ointment. Local anaesthetic eye drops are absolutely contraindicated in home use.
  • Staying in a dimly lit or dark room with eyes closed alleviates symptoms.

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Cornea, H16.1, Occupational Diseases, Ophthalmology, Photophobia, Ultraviolet Rays, Welding, ophthalmia, ophthalmia electrica, snow blindness