Original Research

Review of photokeratitis: Corneal response to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure*

L A. Moore, M. Hussey, J. T. Ferreira, B. Wu
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 69, No 3 | a137 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v69i3.137 | © 2010 L A. Moore, M. Hussey, J. T. Ferreira, B. Wu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2010 | Published: 12 December 2010

About the author(s)

L A. Moore, Department of Optometry/National Optometry Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology, South Africa
M. Hussey, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Science, Dublin Institute of Technology, South Africa
J. T. Ferreira, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
B. Wu, School of Computing, Dublin Institute of Technology, South Africa

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The development of photokeratitis in response to natural solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is prevalent in individuals participating in outdoor recreational activities in environments with high reflective surfaces, such as beach activities, water sports and snow skiing. Eye care practitioners (ECPs) are frequently encouraged by manufacturers and researchers to recommend UVR-blocking eyewear in the form of sunglasses and contact lenses. However, little is known about the precise nature of the corneal tissue response in the development of photokeratitis. This paper reviews the mechanisms responsible for the development of photokeratitis. Clinical signs and symptoms of photokeratitis, UVR corneal threshold and action spectra, corneal
cellular changes and ocular protection from corneal UVR exposure are discussed. The content of this article will be useful to ECPs in making appropriate recommendations when prescribing UVR-protec-
tive eyewear. (S Afr Optom 2010 69(3) 123-131)


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR); photokeratitis; cornea and corneal physiology


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