An eye on sun protection

Research shows people avoid the area around the eyes when applying sunscreen despite up to 10% of skin cancer occurring on the eyelids alone


Research from the University of Liverpool suggests that people are routinely missing skin around the eyes when applying sunscreen.

In a study published in Public Library of Science, researchers used a UV sensitive camera to image 57 participants before and after sunscreen application.

Analysis of the images revealed that on average the participants missed around 9.5% of their faces when applying sunscreen.

The eyelid and periorbital regions were disproportionately affected, with 14% of people missing the eyelid region.

The authors note that between 5 and 10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids alone.

One theory is that because the eyelids are one of the thinnest areas of skin on the body, they are susceptible to prolonged ultraviolet light exposure.

“The importance of adequately protecting this vulnerable area is clear, and the use of sunscreen formulations has been widely promoted,” the authors wrote.

“Our findings strongly suggest that a public information campaign is warranted to stress the importance of eye protection from the sun,” they conclude.

The researchers also emphasise the importance of addressing the issue of eye irritation caused by sunscreen and educating the public about newer tear-free formulations.