The skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on the body (approximatley 0.5 mm thick.) It also happens to be a common site for non-melanoma, sun induced skin cancers, like basal cell carcinomas. Although the concave areas of the corners of the eyes may seem protected from direct sun exposure, light that reflects off of the brow and other orbital bones, ultimately hits this area which may explain the propensity for skin cancer formation at this site.
Many users simply forget to apply sunscreen around the eyes. Others opt not to due to burning or stinging in the eyes when the sunscreen is applied in that area.
Sunscreens commonly contain ingredients that may irritate the eye itself. Fragrance, the active ingredients in sunscreens, especially the chemical filters, preservatives, and other ingredients may cause eye stinging and burning if applied too close to the eye. The best eye protection is seeking shade, a wide brimmed hat and 100% ultraviolet protective sunglasses. Other alternatives include applying a fragrance-free sunscreen stick, or lip balm, around the eyes, one that is formulated with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the active ingredients. (You can select one using the Product Selector.) Sunscreen sticks and lip balms have a high wax content which may prevent the sunscreen from spreading into the eyes with sweating or increased physical activity. Although SPF facial foundation, concealers, and powdered eye makeup applied around the eye does not offer adequate sun protection, it may prevent some of the sun's ultraviolet light from hitting this sensitive area.