The Dangers of Ultraviolet and Infrared Light: Protect Yourself

Ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light can cause a range of injuries, from skin burns to eye damage. It is essential to be aware of the risks associated with these forms of radiation and take steps to protect yourself. UV radiation is the most common source of radiation-related eye injuries. The cornea absorbs most of the UV radiation, and the damage caused by UV radiation to the corneal epithelium is cumulative, similar to the effects of dermal epithelium (sunburn).

Ozone in the atmosphere filters out most of the harmful UV radiation at wavelengths lower than 290 nm; however, exposure to the sun or solar eclipses without protection or exposure to the sun in highly reflective snow fields at high altitudes can lead to direct injury to the corneal epithelium. This clinical scenario is known as snow blindness.The most common eye disease associated with near-infrared radiation is cataracts. Prolonged exposure to IR radiation causes a gradual but irreversible opacity of the lens. Other forms of eye damage caused by exposure to infrared include scotoma, which is the loss of vision due to retinal damage.

Even a low level of infrared absorption can cause symptoms such as eye redness, swelling, or bleeding. It is important to take precautions when exposed to UV and IR light. Avoid direct skin exposure to UVC radiation and never look directly at a UVC light source, even briefly. Skin burns and eye injuries caused by exposure to UVC rays usually go away within a week, and there is no known long-term damage. Careful consideration must be given to whether exposure to light hazards can be eliminated by altering the process used or if the light source can be replaced with a less harmful one. In addition, it is important to wear protective eyewear when exposed to UV and IR light.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays are recommended for outdoor activities. For activities that involve intense exposure to infrared light, such as welding or laser surgery, special goggles should be worn that are designed specifically for protection against IR radiation. It is also important to be aware of your environment when exposed to UV and IR light. If you are in an area with high levels of UV radiation, such as at high altitudes or near reflective surfaces like snow fields, it is important to take extra precautions. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. By taking these precautions, you can reduce your risk of injury from UV and IR light exposure.

Be aware of your environment and take steps to protect yourself from these potentially dangerous forms of radiation.

Alison Largena
Alison Largena

Amateur food scholar. Lifelong food aficionado. Unapologetic coffee evangelist. Proud troublemaker. Certified social media geek. Incurable pop culture practitioner.