Ultraviolet Keratitis

Ultraviolet Keratitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Corneal epithelial damage caused by direct exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
  • Also known as photokeratitis, UV conjunctivitis, snow blindness, and welder's flash.


  • Work-related exposures seen in welders, electricians, and mechanics
  • Recreational exposures, including water sports, snow sports, and tanning booths
  • Occurs with corneal absorption at 290 nm, the cutoff between UV-B and UV-C light
  • UV light penetrates to epithelial nocireceptor axons, destroying them and triggering pain from subendothelial nerve stimulation
  • Related to intensity and duration of exposure

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