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How to Get Sunscreen Out of Your Eyes

While summer may be coming to an end, that doesn't mean that sun protection is any less important. While you protect yourself with sunscreen, it’s possible for some to seep into your eyes. Getting sunscreen in your eye is a pain like no other. It may lead to a burning feeling that can last for hours. Opening your eyes may be difficult, especially outside under the bright sun.

The preservatives or chemical ingredients in sunscreen cause an intense stinging sensation. Avobenzone is one chemical that irritates when it comes in contact with your eyes. Although it won’t lead to permanent damage, you may experience a chemical burn on the surface of your eye that can be painful for a few days. Your tear film will need some time to recover after the lotion disrupts it. If you spray or rub sunscreen in your eyes, you can do a few things to minimize the discomfort. With the sunscreen in your eyes burning, you’ll want to address the problem immediately. Here’s what to do if sunblock gets in your eyes.

Treatment: How to Get Sunscreen Out of Eyes

  1. Remove contact lenses if you’re wearing them.
  2. Wipe around your eyes to remove any excess sunscreen.
  3. Flush eyes thoroughly with lubricating eye drops, a saline solution, or water for at least 15 minutes. Blink regularly to assist your eye in flushing out the toxins naturally.
  4. Use non-preserved eye drops every hour to ease any eye pain. Chemical preservatives could cause further irritation.
  5. Avoid wearing contact lenses for at least 48 hours.

If your eyes are very uncomfortable after getting sunblock in them, close your eyes and let them rest. You can also use a cold wet cloth or ice pack to provide relief for your eyes. After your eyes are flushed, it is normal to experience blurred vision. Flushing may not bring immediate relief, but it will rid your eyes of the toxins. Your eyes should be fine after proper rinsing and pain management. If discomfort or burning persists, schedule an appointment with your optometrist.


Protecting your face and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays is important. Most sunscreen is safe to use around the eye area, including your eyelid. Your eye region is sensitive, and some sunscreens may not be suitable for this area. Mineral sunscreens, made with titanium dioxide or zinc, are safe for sensitive skin and adhere to the skin better. Since mineral sunscreen is free of chemicals, it won’t sting your eyes as you sweat. Fragrance-free sunscreens may also be less irritating. Another option for eye protection is applying products that are specifically made for the eye area as an alternative to sunscreen. Tinted cream concealers or mineral powders that have SPF ratings can help protect your eyes from the sun.

You can avoid the burn of sunblock in your eyes by following the proper precautions. Prevent sunscreen from getting in your eye by never spraying sunscreen directly on your face. Apply it to your hand first, then to your face, while carefully avoiding the eyes. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes after applying sunscreen to your body. Try using a sunscreen stick for easy application around your eyes. If you have small children, never let them apply sunblock on their own. Keep the lotion out of reach of children. You can avoid applying sunblock near your eyes by using UV-blocking sunglasses or a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and eyes from the sun.

Final Thoughts: What to do if Sunscreen Gets in Your Eyes

If sunscreen gets in your eye while trying to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, remain calm, and remember it won’t cause permanent damage. Thoroughly rinse your eye with water, artificial tears, or a saline solution. Use a cold compress for any pain, and avoid using contact lenses for 48 hours. Contact your eye care professional if your eye pain persists for a few days.

There are many ways you can prevent sunscreen from getting in your eye. Always apply sunscreen to your face with your hands rather than spraying directly on your face. Your go-to sunscreen may have ingredients that may easily cause irritation or are not safe for sensitive skin. Opt for a sunscreen stick or mineral-based sunscreen to avoid irritation and chemical burns if you get sunblock in your eye.

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