Occupational effect of ultraviolet ray is a global concern because of the effect of the UV light on different occupational categories.
We all know UV rays can definitely affect our skin (i.e. wrinkles, sun spots, moles, skin cancer, etc.). However, did you know it could also really affect your eyes?
Along with causing growths on the white part of your eyes (pingueculae, pterygiums), sunlight can also damage your retina and cause cataracts.
Eye medical doctors (ophthalmologists) caution us that too much exposure to UV rays raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye, and cancer.
Growths on the eye, such as pterygium, can show up in our teens or twenties, especially in surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, or anyone who spends long hours under the mid-day sun or in the UV-intense conditions found near rivers, oceans, and mountains. Diseases like cataract and eye cancers can take many years to develop, but each time we’re out in the sun without protection we could be adding damage that adds to our risks for these serious disorders.
About Ultraviolet rays (Occupational effect of ultraviolet ray)
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a part of sunlight that is an invisible form of radiation. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is similar to visible light in all physical aspects, except that it does not enable us to see things. The light that enables us to see things is referred to as visible light and is composed of the colors we see in a rainbow. The ultraviolet region starts right after the violet end of the rainbow.
Sunlight is the greatest source of UV radiation. Man-made ultraviolet sources include several types of UV lamps, arc welding, and mercury vapour lamps.
UV radiation is widely used in industrial processes and in medical and dental practices for a variety of purposes, such as killing bacteria, creating fluorescent effects, curing inks and resins, phototherapy and sun tanning.
Inside the eye, the lens and the cornea, both transparent, filter UV rays, but by doing so for many years, they may become damaged. This is especially true for the lens, which through years of UV absorption, turns yellowish and cataractous.
Most of us just think a nice looking pair of sunglasses will do the trick to protect our eyeballs. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, bad sunglasses can sometimes be worse than no sunglasses at all!
Research and reports on Occupational effect of ultraviolet ray
Occupational risk factors, ultraviolet radiation, and ocular melanoma: A case-control study in France. (Pubmed)
Results show elevated risks of ocular melanoma for people with light eye color, light skin color, and for subjects with several eye burns. The analysis based on the job exposure matrix showed a significantly increased risk of ocular melanoma in occupational groups exposed to artificial ultraviolet radiation, but not in outdoor occupational groups exposed to sunlight. An elevated risk of ocular melanoma was seen among welders (odds ratio = 7.3; 95% confidence interval = 2.6-20.1 for men), and a dose-response relationship with job duration was observed. The study also showed increased risk of ocular melanoma among male cooks, and among female metal workers and material handling operators. See full details of the research here
The Long-term Effects of Visible Light on the Eye (Jamaopthalmology)
The relationship between exposure to sunlight and senile cataract, age-related macular degeneration, pterygium, and climatic droplet keratopathy was examined in 838 watermen who work on the Chesapeake Bay. The presence and severity of lenticular, corneal, and macular changes were assessed by either clinical examination or from stereo macular photographs. From detailed exposure histories, ocular exposure was estimated for three bands of visible radiation—violet (400 to 450 nm), blue (400 to 500 nm), or all visible (400 to 700 nm)—as well as for UV-A (320 to 340 nm) and UV-B (290 to 320 nm). The results with each band of visible radiation were similar. Neither cortical nor nuclear cataract was associated with ocular exposure to blue or all visible radiation, but pterygium and climatic droplet keratopathy were more common with higher exposures. Compared with age-matched controls, patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration (geographic atrophy or disciform scarring) had significantly higher exposure to blue or visible light over the preceding 20 years (odds ratio, 1.36 [1.00 to 1.85]) but were not different in respect to exposure to UV-A or UV-B. These data suggest that high levels of exposure to blue or visible light may cause ocular damage, especially later in life, and may be related to the development of age-related macular degeneration. See details of the work
How Can You Protect Your Eyes from the Occupational effect of ultraviolet ray
Here are some recommendations to protect your eye from ultraviolet rays
- Do not expose your eye to ultraviolet rays unnecessarily.
- Wear proper eye protection and hats to block the UV rays.To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should: Block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation, screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light