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Protect Your Eyes From Solar Radiation - Part II

by John M. White |

Your eyes are particularly sensitive to solar radiation in the UV-B part of the spectrum, and even a few seconds of exposure can result in a painful condition called photokeratitis and conjunctivitis. This condition is where the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed, your eyes water and your vision is blurred. It can be painful as well. Some examples of problems associated with solar radiation exposure to your eyes include "flash burn", "ground glass eye ball", "snow blindness" and "welder's flash". Symptomatically these conditions result in pain or discomfort in your eyes similar to sand in the eyes as well as an aversion to bright lights.

The Disappearing Ozone Layer

[caption id="attachment_1693" align="alignright" width="300"]The Changing Ozone Layer and Solar Radiation The Changing Ozone Layer and Solar Radiation[/caption] One of the greatest dangers to our eyes is the rapidly disappearing ozone layer. Solar radiation has become far stronger as the ozone layer thins and slowly disappears, leaving unprotected eyes to the risk of injury, damage or disease from solar radiation. You can see the thinning and disappearance of the ozone layer in the image to the right. Scientists can use a variety of instruments for measuring the intensity of the solar radiation, both in a laboratory and in the environment; however, simply knowing this information does not help you, the ordinary sunglasses wearer.

A Video About The Ozone Layer

The Solar Radiation Danger For Pilots

Pilots experience increased solar radiation strength as the aircraft climbs higher into the atmosphere, and to complicate things further the ozone layer may be thin or non-existent allowing even stronger ultraviolet radiation rays to reach your eyes. The best solution is to wear proper eye protection in the form of a great pair of aviator sunglasses which can block 98-100% of the ultraviolet radiation rays. When working outdoors or driving long distances we recommend the following in order to minimize your exposure to ultraviolet radiation:
  • Avoid the midday sun (10:00am to 3:00pm local time);
  • Wear a broad rimmed hat that will shade your face, neck and ears;
  • Use UV protection sunglasses;
  • wear tightly woven clothing to block sunlight;
  • Apply SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to exposed skin areas.


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