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. That is why the month of May was set as Ultraviolet Awareness month.
Ultraviolet Awareness Month
In light of the dangers associated with UV, the month of May was set as Ultraviolet Awareness month. Studies have showed that 20% of cataracts cases are a result of UV rays. Sadly, this number has been rising in the recent years, which makes sense for anyone to be involved in fighting this problem.
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 measured in a unit known as nanometers (nm) and those three are classified depending on how strong they are.
- UVC: These rays are below 280nm. Fortunately, the upper atmosphere absorbs these so they do not to get to us. Because of this, it is not necessary to get protection from these rays.
- UVB: These are between 315 – 380 nm. 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 attitudes.
- UVA: These are the most dangerous being 315 – 380 nm. They 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 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 out without any 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 lastly, remember to get an eye exam at least once a year.
Purpose of Ultraviolet Awareness Month
The main purpose in setting this month was to raise awareness on the problems associated with Ultraviolet rays. It seeks to promote eye health and reduce* the occurrence of eye diseases. Since this is a problem that can affect anyone, we are all urged to follow all the advice given during this month.
Message during Ultraviolet Awareness Month
The message focuses on teaching the public more on the need to protect themselves from the harmful effects of Ultraviolet rays. Like with all healthy events, Ultraviolet awareness month has a theme every year. This time, it is protecting eyes from UV dangers by choosing the right sunglasses.
What to do during Ultraviolet Awareness Month?
Since no one is immune from this, always have UV protection at all times. Like said above, 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 on the dangers of UV.
And lastly, you should spread the word to all those you know – you might just save them from the effects of UV.