Why Wear Goggles When Using a Sunbed?

If you’re using a sunbed you’re probably hoping for a golden, all-over tan without any tell-tale white bits.

While that’s easy enough for your body, it can be another story when it comes to your eyes. Wearing the sunbed googles can often result in the unattractive “raccoon” – not a look that anyone wants.

It can therefore be tempting to forget about wearing goggles, and go bare-eyed instead. Surely closing your eyes is enough protection for your peepers?

We take a look at just why goggles are so essential when using a sunbed and what can happen if you don’t wear them.



On the most basic level, if you don’t protect the delicate skin around the eyes you could end up with a nasty sunburn.

And if you have sunburned eyes you will know about it! Itchy, sore and watery, sunburned eyes don’t just look red but they’re very uncomfortable too.

The skin over the eyeballs isn’t normally on display, only shuttering down when you blink. In normal sunlight, most people choose to wear sunglasses so they can see against the glare of the sun.

This means that when it comes to a sunbed the skin over the eyes is much more vulnerable to burning than the rest of your body.

Closing your eyes

While it’s true that closing your eyes does put a layer of skin between your soft corneas and the glaring UV light, it’s not enough to stop damage from occurring.

With your eyes closed you might feel blissfully in the dark but in fact, eyelids only block out a quarter of the harmful UV rays.

It only takes one session to sustain short-term damage to the eyes. This is often in the form of either corneal burns (photokeratitis) or basal cell carcinoma.

Photokeratitis causes the corneas to burn, leaving your vision blurred and your eyes tearing up and painful. This can last for several days before gradually starting to heal.

Basal cell carcinoma can cause the tissue itself to become swollen and damaged, leading to redness and inflammation both in and around the eye.

Long term damage

Wear Goggles When Using a SunbedAlthough short term damage to the eyes after using a sunbed can be unpleasant enough, long term damage is even worse.

If you repeatedly use a sunbed without protection you risk causing irreversible and permanent damage that can’t be easily cured.

Reduced colour perception is one problem that can occur after long term sunbed use. This means that your vision will be permanently dulled and you’ll never be able to experience bright and vivid colours again. This can cause difficulties determining more subtle colours and pastels.

Poor night vision is another side effect which results from damage to the eyes.

There is no cure to either reduced color perception or poor night vision.

Cataracts are a condition that usually affects the elderly more often than other sections of the population but sunbed exposure without eye protection can increase the risk. Cataracts can be treated with surgery but are an unpleasant condition where the vision clouds and blurs, as well as causing pain in the eyes.

Don’t risk it!

If you don’t wear googles or eye protection when you’re using a sunbed you are far more likely to end up with serious eye damage in both the short and long term. If you want to minimize the white circles, try using disposable goggles which cover only the smallest possible area.

Alternatively you could choose an alternative method such as sunless tanning tablets which give you a golden, all-over glow with none of the risks associated with UV rays and no white bits guaranteed!