eyes gone bonkers

I was out paddling yesterday when my eyes went beserk (sp?)! First time in my life. They were stinging, burning, I couldn’t keep them open, but squinting and blinking wasn’t much better. Possible culprits: 1) sun block (a lethal concoction of some stick my kids use and Bull Frog); 2) salt water (normally I paddle on fresh); 3) the sun. It started early on, but got much worse when we turned around and paddled back with the sun to our backs.

Okay super slueths, what was it?!

Edit: I had on sunglasses, not polarized

Was your forehead leaking?
That happened to me once.

Apparently there are caustic/acidic chemicals that are produced in my brain area that are eating away the hair from my head. If they leak through your forehead, they play havoc with your eyes.

Try duct-taping a bilge sponge to your forehead. It works for me.

Maybe We Can Talk
If it wasn’t your listed culprits… I have that same problem if I skip washing my face for a day. If I rub my eyes I’ll get naturally stinging sweat/oils in my eyes. Hurts like hell and the tears start flowing.

bull frog
bull frog on ythe forehead forehead runs in my eyes when I sweat and produces those symptoms. Try another sunblock on your forehead, or just wear a hat and skip sunblock above your eyes.

Eye strain probably???
Did it happen soon after you passed the 2 topless blonds on SOTs?

Seriously I have had paddlers get sun lotion and sun block in their eyes so I carry eye wash and a eye cup in my first air kit. Also because I paddle small rivers where a paddler could and has touched a branch that dropped trash on them it is a good idea.

hmm … thanks
That may have been the culprit. Since I was wearing a baseball cap, next time, on the forehead I’ll just go without.

Sun Block
I think it was the sun block too. I’d try a hat for the forhead next time and still apply the sun block to everything below your eyes.

Definitely sunblock…

– Last Updated: Jun-30-07 1:03 PM EST –

I've seen racers come to Florida in the winter and they get all creamed up thinking they will burn, and end up not being able to see. They have had to pick some up, boat and all, and bring them back to shore because they couldn't go on.

Rule out salt water
Salinity of the eye’s moisture is the same as the ocean. Go figure.


It’s the sunscreen
I learned a long time ago to not put any on my forhead.

I’ll take my chances with skin cancer rather than live through the torture that that crap puts you through if you get it in your eyes

About twenty years ago my wife and I were in the US V. Islands and slathered a bunch on ourselves just prior to heading out in SOT kayaks. the combination of sweating and splashing water evidently washed it from our forheads into our eyes, and we both thought that we were going to be blind. We got into some shade on a beach and it took about two hours before we could even see good enough to head back. The stinging was excrutiating too.



the only sublock
I’ve ever used that has no effect on my eyes regardless of the salinity or air temp is Coppertone Spray Sport (or some combination of those words). It comes in a blue spritz bottle and I can spray it directly on my face without a problem later. It also lasts pretty much all day unless you spend most if it in the water. Really good stuff.

One other thing. I tried the generic stuff our chain pharmacy makes to save money and got a sunburn (but no eye burn). I spend the extra bucks now.


Sunblock and sweat

some Bullfrog has insect repellant
Bullfrog “Mosquito Coast” has 20% DEET (I think) - that might sting eyes…

Do you dip hat? I once saw a jellyfish (locally called “sea nettles”) right where I was about to dip my ballcap…

That’s an easy fix

– Last Updated: Jun-30-07 6:42 PM EST –

Start using waterproof mascara. Oh, wait... never mind. :)

I did not
good “word to the wise” though


Thanks for the suggestion!
I too have had all sorts of problems with sunblock getting into my eyes, so the one you recommend sounds like it’s well worth a try.


I was about this far from qualifying for the “paddling with the visually impaired” thread

Alice Cooper style?

This can happen…
if you wear contacts and aren’t ‘good’ at taking care of them. It happened to me when I was not taking care of my contacts like I should (cleaning regularly, taking them out at night, etc.) It turns out that scratches on your cornea cause severe light sensitivity and pain. This can occur quite suddenly. It hit me as I was driving on the interstate at 70MPH. Pretty hairy when all of a sudden I couldn’t stand to keep my eyes open.

Needless to say, I take better care of my contacts (and eyes) now…

no contacts involved
can’t stand the thought of sticking my finger in my eye