May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month: Know the Dangers of UV Radiation
While it feels good being outdoors, we have to acknowledge the fact that it is not all glitter and gold. Too much sun has its own disadvantages – its ultraviolet light can destroy us faster than we know. As a result of the dangers associated with UV, the month of May has been set as Ultraviolet Awareness month. Studies have shown that 20% of cataract cases are a result of UV rays. Sadly, this number has been rising in recent years.
What is Ultraviolet Light?
Ultraviolet radiation refers to the invisible high energy rays that come from the sun. Since they are invisible, our naked eyes cannot see them. Most notably, these rays are UVA, UVB and UVC. Ultraviolet light is classified depending on how strong the UV rays are.
- UVC: Fortunately, the upper atmosphere absorbs these so they do not reach us. Because of this, it is not necessary to get protection from these rays.
- UVB: Sadly, these manage to make it to the earth’s surface and are notorious for damaging sight. Specifically, they can cause snow blindness. But they are also bad for the skin as they are famous for causing sunburn and other types of skin cancer. Research has shown that these rays are strongest during the summer and at higher altitudes.
- UVA: These are the most dangerous and are known for causing chronic eye damage. Studies have indicated that these rays get absorbed by the lenses of our eyes leading to damage of the retina. This contributes to the occurrence of cataracts. Not only that, but they are also a major cause of aging. What makes them even worse is that they can pass through clouds, glass, water and clothing.
But we should not be looking at the glass as being half empty. As a matter of fact, some Ultraviolet light is good for us. UV stimulates the production of vitamin D. Just 5 to 15 minutes of exposure to the sun is enough to achieve this.
Dangers of Ultraviolet Light:
Ultraviolet light affects the skin and eyes like stated above. From studies conducted, we now know that prolonged exposure can cause blindness and loss of vision. Not only this, but it can also cause several types of skin and eye cancers.
Treatment and Prevention:
Since there are different conditions that can result from excessive sun exposure, some are treatable, and others are not. Sunburn, for example, will disappear in days. As for cancers, you can have a surgery; the cancer just needs to be identified early. Other conditions, however, are difficult to treat. One of these is blindness.
Preventing the negative effects of ultraviolet light is simple. First and foremost, you must limit your exposure to the sun. In addition to that, you should never head outside without a form of protection. You must invest in sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. To make it even better, try to wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your skin.
It is known that the sun’s rays are strongest from 10 am to 2 pm. So, avoid being out at this time. And remember to get an eye exam at least once a year. Since no one is immune from this, always have UV protection at all times. Choose the right sunglasses and wear a hat when outside. Additionally, you should never forget children since they are the ones who spend most of the time playing outdoors. So, get them appropriate sunglasses too and teach them the dangers of UV. And lastly, you should spread the word to all those you know – you might just save them from the negative effects of UV.