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Rumor: Suncreen Eye Exposure Causes Blindness
CTFA Response Statement: Internet-spread Rumors About Sunscreens and Temporary Blindness are False and Unsubstantiated. (PRST 00-21)

It has come to our attention that an e-mail is currently circulating on the Internet which falsely states that the use of sunscreen can cause temporary blindness if it gets in the eyes. The story relayed via e-mail is an unsubstantiated story. It is typical of internet rumors notorious for inaccurate and false information.

There is no evidence - scientific or otherwise - that any such harmful effects have ever resulted from the use of sunscreens. Sunscreens are safe. When used as directed, they are an essential part of a complete sun protection strategy that protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

In a July 12, 1999 press release posted on its website, The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Eye M.D. Association, defined the email as “erroneous and alarmist.”

The Academy release stated:

While sunscreen is a mild irritant, the most severe eye injury it could cause would be a corneal abrasion, resulting in moderate discomfort during the healing process, but no long-term after-effects.

The Poison Control Center, Food and Drug Administration, and sunscreen manufacturers have never heard of a person being blinded by sunscreen.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a person receives approximately 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure by the age of 18. Therefore, preventing childhood sun exposure is essential to preventing skin cancer later in life.

If sunscreen does get in the eye, the Academy suggests rinsing with plenty of water and seeing an ophthalmologist, and Eye M.D., if the pain does not subside.

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