Doctors Say Ultraviolet Germ Lamps Are Burning People’s Eyes

by : Daniel Richardson on : 26 Nov 2020 12:38
Doctors Say UV Germ Lamps Are Burning People's EyesDoctors Say UV Germ Lamps Are Burning People's EyesOcular Immunology and Inflammation/Dimer UVC

Ultraviolet (UV) lighting has been used more during the global pandemic because of its ability to kill viruses and bacteria, but it also damages the eyes of some who are exposed to it. 

A paper published in the journal Ocular Immunology and Inflammation has highlighted the negative impact that UV light can have on eyes.


Germicidal lamps have become popular during the coronavirus pandemic, and it seems that overexposure to UV radiation is damaging eyes in a similar way that it damages skin. The results of overexposure have ranged from mild symptoms of photokeratitis – essentially sunburn to the cornea and conjuctiva – to more extreme pain.


Doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine analysed cases of UV light burning the eye because of improper use. The short-term damage had been caused by UV lamps being placed in work, home and even at the dentist. This exposure had led to a great deal of discomfort for some, but fortunately, even the painful incidents of eye irritation could be fixed relatively quickly.

To treat the issue, doctors used lubricating eye drops, antibiotics and steroids. This resulted in a full recovery within a couple of days. These findings of UV eye damage corresponds with earlier reports in China, and it seems to be an increasingly frequent issue as UV lightening becomes more popular because of its bacteria-killing capabilities.


Interestingly, UV may not actually be having the desired impact in terms of killing viruses, either. While UV can kill coronavirus in the air, it is not more effective than a mask. To use the most effective form of UV light, people would have to invest in UV-C, but this is not advised. This form of UV is dangerous to people, and as a result, the World Health Organisation has warned against it.

uv damageuv damageOcular Immunology and Inflammation

The World Health Organisation warns of the dangers of UV-C:

Installation of UV-C air disinfection in medical facilities requires well-trained technicians to avoid direct exposure of occupants. The authors caution all persons to avoid direct exposure to UV-C germicidal lamps and follow manufacturer recommendations closely.


It seems that UV lightening may be best left alone if you value your eyes. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives that offer protection against COVID-19 like masks and keeping good hygiene.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Now, Tech