Scroll Top
1211 W La Palma Ave. Suite 201 Anaheim, CA 92801

Tanning Beds And Eye Health

Sunlight and indoor ultraviolet tanning are common, especially among young adults, adolescents, and individuals with light skin complexion.

UV and sunlight are associated with several health benefits, including enhanced mood, improved appearance, and increased vitamin D levels.

However, there are also health risks of UV exposure to the human body, including the promotion of skin cancers and acceleration of skin aging.

Studies have shown that exposure to Ultraviolet radiation can also lead to eye damage. If you are an avid tanner, you may be wondering how dangerous tanning can be to the eyes and if it is safer to use a tanning bed.

In this guide, we walk you through the effects of eye exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds and the protective measures and treatment options.

UV Exposure and Eye Damage

UV damage is cumulative. This means that the effects build progressively over time, though it may seem trivial in the initial phase.

Tanning beds can emit UV radiation levels up to 100 times what you would get by sun exposure. Besides being harmful to the skin, this can seriously damage the internal and external structures of the eyelids and eyes.

How About I Close My Eyes in the Tanning Bed?

Closing your eyes in a tanning bed will not protect your eyes from intense UV radiation. If anything, it can lead to eye problems like dry eye, blurry vision, and sunburn.

Various symptoms of sunburn include redness, burning, runniness, and a gritty feeling beneath the eyelids. Dry eyes will also make your eyes irritated or red. Similarly, the reduction in tears makes your eyes susceptible to infections.

In the long term, it can trigger cataracts and degeneration. These eye-health conditions are usually associated with aging, but tanning will significantly increase the possibility of infection. Read on for more information about the most common effects of tanning beds on human eyes.

Common Effects of Tanning Beds on Eyes

A prevalent misconception about indoor tanning is that it produces less harmful light than direct Ultraviolet rays from sunlight.

However, this is false since continuous exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds can lead to serious eye-health issues. The following are risks associated with indoor tanning:


One possible symptom of excessive exposure to UV rays inflicted by tanning beds is the development of cataracts. This is typically an age-related degenerative condition but accelerates when exposed to UV rays.


Melanoma is a skin cancer resulting from melanocyte cells that produce melanin. Exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun increases your chances of developing melanoma around your eyes.


Also known as corneal sunburn, keratitis is a painful burning of the cornea- the transparent surface that enables pictures and light to penetrate the retina. This temporary eye condition results from excessive exposure to UV radiation and can temporarily damage your cornea.

Macular Degeneration

This is the primary cause of blindness in adults over 60 years. Increasing UV radiation damages the central part of the retina, resulting in degeneration.


Eye damage from UV exposure tends to develop with time, so it is important to consider protecting your eyes. The easiest way to prevent eye health complications is by avoiding indoor tanning for good. But if you cannot avoid the procedure for various reasons, the following measures may come in handy.

Wear Protective Goggles

Many tanners assume that closing their eyes protects their corneas from UV rays. However, the skin of the eyelids is sensitive and delicate, so it does not do much to protect the eyes from UV damage.

Always wear protective eye goggles when getting into the tanning bed. Tanning goggles come in numerous shapes and colors and include a removable strap for perfect fitting. It is therefore important to choose a pair that fits well and is not broken.

If you forget to bring the goggles, you can find them at the tanning salon. Towels, sunglasses, and other coverings will not be as safe or effective as tanning goggles.

Use Eye Drops

UV rays from tanning beds can make your eyes drier, which can cause itching, redness, and a burning sensation. You can avoid this by using eye drops to keep your eyes moisturized. Get recommendations from your eye doctor for the best over-the-counter eye drops for this function.

Do not Tan For Long

Constant exposure to UV radiation will damage the sensitive tissues of the eyeballs, despite putting on protective gear.

This is because there is a radiation limit that goggles can filter out. Additionally, considering the substantial amount of UV rays involved, you do not want to stay in a tanning bed for long.

Wear Sunglasses After Tanning

The eyes are more susceptible to damage when leaving the tanning bed, so eye safety is essential. Continue safeguarding your eyes by wearing sunglasses to limit UV rays exposure.

Visit An Eye Care Professional

To keep your condition from worsening, it is best to visit an eye care professional since they can detect slight damage to your eyes that remain invisible to you. We recommend seeing an ophthalmologist at least once a year for diagnosis.


According to the FDA, keratitis, a sunburn on the eye, can be cured with a contemporary solution provided by a specialist. Cataracts, on the other hand, need a surgical procedure. In contrast, there is no permanent cure for macular degeneration.

Prioritize Eye Health Over Skin Tone

Tanning your skin may be popular and produce stunning results; however, it is a direct cause of ultraviolet damage. You also need to consider the danger it can cause to the eye structures.

We cannot prohibit you from sunbathing or tanning, but we always encourage patients to choose safe practices that protect the health of their skin and eyes.

So if you must tan, ensure you follow our safety guidelines to protect your eyes and skin.

Choose Anaheim Eye Care

Anaheim Eye offers the most advanced eye care in the country with fully committed doctors and staff and state-of-the-art equipment. Plus, our specialists can treat any eye-related complications. Get in touch today for the best eye care!

Skip to content