"I can't open my eyes." Actress Busy Philipps rushed to hospital with awful 'sunburn'.

We’ve all heard our fair share of sunburn horror stories. That one colleague who had to stand all day because their cheeks were a little sensitive from a day lying on a beach towel.

Or that friend who decides the dinner table is the perfect place to show you their peeling shoulders.

Or this guy, who was so sunburnt and swollen he ended up with a… dent… in his forehead.

But this sunburn horror story from actress Busy Philipps, of Freaks and Geeks and Dawson’s Creek fame might just take the cake.

Sharing a series of images for her 891,000 Instagram followers, the 38-year-old revealed she had to be hospitalised after she realised her EYES were sunburnt.

“Spent last night at Cedars after I couldn’t sleep because it felt like there were shards of glass in both my eyes,” she wrote alongside images of her shielding her eyes and bowing her head in a hospital room.


“I have Photo Keratitis from bright lights/sun exposure! WHO EVEN KNEW THAT WAS A THING?”

But it wasn’t from lying in the sun with her eyes open or staring straight into a solar eclipse that landed the actress and mum-of-two in hospital. Sharing on her Instagram stories, Busy said she had developed photokeratitis from a photo shoot she took part in on Monday.

At first, she thought she was having an allergic reaction after noticing her eyes were sore, red and puffy.

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“I can barely see straight. I’m going to the doctor tomorrow,” she told her followers in the video.

“I’m having some sort of crazy allergic reaction. I can’t open my eyes.”

Later, she confirmed she’d spent four hours in the emergency room at her local hospital to seek treatment.

“I have photokeratitis. I sunburned my eyes from my photo shoot today,” she said.

“It’s so on-brand though. I get one big magazine cover, and I do one photo shoot, and I burn my eyeballs.”

It turns out the actress was also suffering from an allergy-related eye rash, an image of which she also shared online.


According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, photokeratitis occurs when the eye is exposed to UV rays, either from the sun or from a man-made source, like the flash of a camera.

It’s described as “like having a sunburned eye” and affects the cornea and conjunctiva, the cell layer that covers the inside of the eyelids and the ‘whites’ of the eye. Symptoms can include pain, redness, swelling, headache, eyelid twitching and blurred vision.

Photokeratitis normally subsides on its own with time, but patients are advised to avoid sunlight, place a cold washcloth over their eyes and use eye drops.


Busy showed off her ‘recovery’ style by posting a video of herself wearing a pair of large, black sunglasses.

“She’s got thick skin, stomach problems and sensitive eyes,” Busy joked in the video.

To protect eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, Cancer Council Australia recommends the use of sunglasses that are close-fitting and cover as much of the eye as possible, and are marked with an eye protection factor of 10.

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