What Is UV Radiation? Ultraviolet (UV) is an invisible form of radiation from sunlight that causes damage to the eyes and skin. UV radiation can also emit artificially from welding arcs and tanning beds.
What Is the Difference Between UV Rays?
Three types of UV rays exist, including UVA, UVB and UVC. However, only UVA and UVB rays cause damage to our skin and eyes. Fortunately, UVC is absorbed by the atmosphere and never reaches the ground.
The following describes the differences between UVA and UVB rays:
Cause eye damage and are a suspect in the development of cataracts, macular degeneration and aging of the retina Promote wrinkling of the skin and premature aging Burn deeper into the skin than UVB rays and may lead to skin cancer Pass through glass A re weaker and longer-wave lengths than UVB rays UVB Rays: Damage the cornea (surface of the eye), similar to a sunburn on the skin Are most intense at high altitudes and low latitudes Cause sunburns and skin cancer Canít pass through glass Are stronger and shorter than UVA rays What Factors Affect the Intensity of UV Radiation? Weather. Do not be fooled on a cloudy day. Be careful under haze and thin clouds. It may not be hot outdoors, but the sun's rays can still burn.
Environment. You receive higher UV exposure on snow, sand, water, and concrete because these surfaces reflect UV rays.
Altitude. You also get more UV radiation at high altitudes, such as the mountains, and low latitudes, such as areas close to the Equator or the Caribbean. UV rays become weaker at the earth's poles.
Length of time outdoors. The more time you spend in the sun, the more ultraviolet light you receive.
Attire. Summer clothes expose the skin to more UV rays. Not wearing appropriate sunglasses expose the eyes to more harmful rays.
Time of Day. UV radiation is highest between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. In other words, if your shadow is shorter than you, UV radiation is at a higher intensity. If your shadow is longer, UV radiation is at a lower intensity.
Season. UV radiation is the least intense in the winter, highest in the spring and summer (May to August), and lower in the fall. Who Is at Risk for Eye Damage Caused by Ultraviolet Light? Everyone, even children, is at risk for vision loss caused by UV radiation. Any factor that increases your exposure to sunlight, such as prescription drugs that increase sensitivity to UV light, can increase your risk of eye disorders. People who work outdoors or engage in leisure activities outside, especially in the snow or near water, are at the highest risk. People who are fair-skinned and have light eye color are also more at risk.