Ultraviolet keratitis is the medical term for inflammation of the cornea due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (usually from sunlight, but sometimes from artificial sources like welders' arcs).

An annoying scratchy feeling in the eye after exposure to excessive sunlight is typical of UV keratitis. The symptoms of the condition are caused by damage to the corneal epithelium (the first layer of cells that coat the front of the eye). It takes about six hours after the damage occurs before somebody starts experiencing the full range of symptoms: pain, tearing, spasms in the eyelids, and/or blurred vision. While UV keratitis is fairly rare, people run the greatest risk when they are in highly-reflective environments, such as when they're water skiing on a bright, sunny day.

In most cases, the damage is mild and the symptoms will usually disappear in one or two days. The best treatment is to avoid bright light. But if the symptoms are severe, people should seek medical help from eye care professional (an optometrist or an ophthalmologist) or from a physician.

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