Eye health and UV lamps may not be the best of friends. A new study emerged which showed that these technologically advanced lamps made to kill germs and viruses could lead to possible eye injuries.
A study titled, "UV-Photokeratitis Associated with Germicidal Lamps Purchased during the COVID-19 Pandemic" published in the journal Ocular Immunology and Inflammation, reported that a significant number of patients who used UV germicidal lamps in order to sanitize their room and provide protection against the coronavirus, developed photokeratitis, a painful inflammation of the cornea. Homes and offices have been commonly using these devices to eliminate the dreaded virus.
Physicians from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine led by Dr Jesse Sengillo, stated in a university release that they have noticed that during the pandemic, the number of patients who complained about pain, irritation, and sensitivity to light has increased. This led the doctors to realise that this came after they were exposed to germicidal lamps which emit UV light. The condition that it results in can be painful. However, they also noted that antibiotics to prevent infection and prompt lubrication can help the patients.
Dr Anne Kunkler, a co-author of the study, said that the patients they met were not aware of the recommendations on UV lamp usage. Hence, many of the patients were exposed to the light at work. She also highlighted that the best thing to do it is to leave the room while the lamp is on. Most of those who came to them have been exposed to the light for different lengths of time, then experienced symptoms a few hours later.
Dr Sengillo also highlighted that due to the numerous publications that are related to COVID-19, it is important for information to be disseminated responsibly and accurately in order to avoid public confusion.
The authors of the study recommend that anybody who develops any discomfort in the eye after exposure must immediately seek medical attention. They noted that their study was not designed to determine whether UV germicidal lamps are effective in killing the novel coronavirus.