UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that comes directly from the sun. The shorter wavelengths of this spectrum are invisible to the naked human eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB and UVC. Most UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer but UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere and can damage our skin, aging us prematurely as well as causing cancers. The eyes are also aged causing cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygiums, pingueculas as well as eye cancers.
Excessive UV radiation can cause genetic mutations of our cells that can lead to cancer. UV radiation is the main cause of non-melanotic skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
UVA accounts for up to 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth. Though UVA is less intense than UVB and in turn UVC, it is more prevalent in the atmosphere. UVA damages deeper layers of the skin, predominantly keratinocytes (skin cells), which causes most skin cancers. It also plays a major role in skin ageing and wrinkling.
UVB primarily causes skin reddening and sunburn. It impacts the surface of the skin and also causes cancer and skin ageing. UVB is strongest during sunnier weather and can cause more damage when bouncing back from reflective surfaces such as snow.
Protection from UV
Try to seek shade during sunnier weather. UVA penetrates glass more than UVB so always consider tinting your car as well as home and business windows. When outdoors you should wear UV protective clothing as well as using sunscreen lotion.
To protect your eyes you should always wear UV blocking sunglasses. Not all sunglasses have the ability to block UVA and UVB and not all block 100% of both radiations. It is important to buy your sunglasses from an authorized dealer which guarantees 100% UVA and UVB protection.
SPF indicates how long it takes for UVB to redden skin when using sunscreen as compared to how long it takes without sunscreen. Using SPF 15 takes 15 times longer for the skin to redden than without the sunscreen. SPF 15 screens 93% of UVB; SPF 30 screens 97% of UVB; SPF 50 screens 98% of UVB and SPF 100 screens 99% of UVB. Both UVA and UVB are harmful. Full protection will include using SPF 15 or higher and ingredients such as avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
To learn more about how your eyes can be protected from UV, contact