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Clean Your UV Lamp Carefully: It's Light Can Burn Your Eyes

UV light can help destroy coronavirus, but it comes with a stern warning sign.

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Photography: Wikimedia Commons/Tarvo Metspalu

Actor Derek Ramsey saw his ultraviolet (UV) light flickering and wanted to fix it. His girlfriend, Andrea Torres, reminded him not to look straight at it, but Derek accidentally looked at the UV light briefly.

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"Around 2 a.m., hindi ko na maidilat yung mata ko," the actor recounted on Mars Pa More. That was about seven or so hours after the incident with UV light. 

Derek tried to wash his eyes, but it got "worse and worse." Andrea put some eye drops on his eyes, thinking it was just a case of dry eyes, but "that's when talagang sumisigaw na ako sa pain," Derek shared. 

The couple went to the emergency room soon after.

How UV light can be harmful to skin and eyes

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Derek's experience is a good reminder that danger lies in a type of UV light. One type we are familiar with is UVA, which causes premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and age spots. UVB causes sunburn, and it may also lead to skin cancer. It's the reason putting on sunscreen is essential daily, even if it's cloudy.

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Another type of UV light, UVC, is good at destroying genetic material, whether in humans or viral particles, including coronaviruses. Unlike UVB, which takes hours of exposure before you get burned, UVC light only takes seconds to cause damage. So, you should never look at UV light directly, even if you only looked at it for a "few seconds." 

According to Cancer.org, they can cause the eye's cornea to become inflamed or burned, called snow blindness' or photokeratitis. Eye exposure to UV rays can also lead to the formation of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) and pterygium (tissue growth on the surface of the eye), both of which can impair vision.

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Additionally, exposure to UV rays can also weaken the immune system so that the body has a more challenging time fending off infections.

How to use UV light for disinfecting and sterilizing

It has been established that UV light disinfection is best in healthcare settings. But many households now have their UV light devices. They're used for disinfecting daily accessories, such as cellphones, keys, and baby essentials like feeding bottles and even toys. But always keep in mind to handle it with care.

There are protective glasses that can protect from UV light. You may want to consider investing in a UV bag to help contain the harmful rays. They're more mobile than, say, a UV sanitizer that's heavy and bulky.

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If you have a UV lamp and it needs cleaning, you need to turn it off first, disconnect it from the power source, and allow it to cool down to room temperature. You don't have to remove the lamp to clean it. Just wipe the light source with a damp sponge, using only water. Spray household glass cleaner onto your sponge before wiping the light source to remove any residue.

Any electrical issues with UV devices are handled by professional.

This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Realliving.com.ph editors.

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