Back to Basics: Ultraviolet Keratitis

Ultraviolet keratitis
What is it?
  • Injury to corneal epithelial cells 
  • Classically associated with arc welders, tanning beds and skiers 
  • Effects are cumulative 

How does it present?

  • Symptoms often delayed (6-12 hours) - pain, photophobia, prominent tearing, conjunctival infection, blepharospasm

How is it diagnosed?

  • Proparacaine drops to provide anesthesia for detailed exam 
  • Slit lamp exam w/ fluorescein stain - punctate corneal abrasions and diffuse corneal edema 

What is the treatment?

  • Oral analgesics, cycloplegics (TID), lubricant drops
  • Eye protection w/ side shields  
  • Healing typical occurs w/in 24-36 hours 


Walker RA, Adhikari S. "Eye Emergencies." Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8eEds. Judith E. Tintinalli, et al. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2016, pg 1563