What Is Ultraviolet Radiation?

wavelengths of light

Ultraviolet Radiation Segment Of Wavelengths

Ultraviolet Radiation Segment Of Wavelengths

We are surrounded by radiation of all kinds including visible light and radiation we can not see like ultraviolet radiation, radio signals, x-rays and more.

All radiation is measured in wavelengths with radio waves being longer and gamma rays being much shorter. Wavelength is measured in nano meters (nm) with visible light rays being in the 700nm to 400nm range and ultraviolet radiation in the 400nm to 190nm range.

As the wavelengths shorten the more dangerous they become.

Ultraviolet Radiation

The electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum

Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is very much like visible light but cannot be seen by the naked eye. Light that we can see is called visible light and has all of the colors we see in a rainbow. Ultraviolet radiation starts right after the violet end of the rainbow.

Ultraviolet radiation has a wavelength just as visible light, radar, radio signals do. Wavelength refers to the frequency and amplitude refers to the strength or intensity of the wave. Different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation have different effects on people.

For example, x-rays used in cancer therapy are used to kill cancerous cells while infrared light rays can be used to keep you warm.

UV Rays Are Divided Into 3 Categories

UV-A, UV-B and UV-C Ultraviolet Radiation

UV-A, UV-B and UV-C Ultraviolet Radiation

Those UV rays nearest the visible light spectrum have a wavelength of 400nm to 320nm and are called UV-A radiation. UV-A radiation is one of the causes of cataracts in our eyes.

The next shorter UV rays have a wavelength of 320nm to 290nm and are called UV-B radiation. UV-B radiation is responsible for both skin and eye burns.

The shortest UV rays have a wavelength of 290nm to 190nm and are called UV-C radiation. UV-C radiation is much stronger and causes more severe skin and eye burns as well as skin cancer on your exposed skin and in particular can occur around your eye sockets.

Where Does Ultraviolet Radiation Come From?

The Sun Sends Out Ultraviolet Radiation

The Sun Sends Out Ultraviolet Radiation

Our Sun is the greatest source of ultraviolet radiation by far; however, there are many man-made soures of ultraviolet radiation as well.

Ultraviolet radiation does serve some useful purposes in our lives. Ultraviolet radiation is used in industrial processes (for curing inks and resins), medical (for phototherapy), dental practices (for killing bacteria) and for sun tanning booths.

However, ultraviolet radiation can also be very harmful to humans by causing injury or disease in eyes and skin.

Health Effects Of UV Radiation

Some exposure to ultraviolet radiation is good for us. For example, ultraviolet radiation stimulates Vitamin D production in our bodies while UV lamps are used for treating things like psoriasis or jaundice in newborn babies.

However, excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation is associated with skin cancer, sunburn, accelerated skin aging, cataracts in your eyes and other eye diseases and injuries.

The severity of the risk depends upon the ultraviolet wavelength, the intensity of the uv rays and the length of time you are exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Ultraviolet light (UV radiation) is the most common cause of radiation injury to the eye. While the cornea absorbs most of the UV radiation the damage to the corneal epithelium is cumulative, similar to the effects of sunburn.

Unprotected exposure of the eyes to the sun or exposure to sun on highly reflective surfaces like snow fields can lead to direct cornea injury and damage.

UV Radiation Effects On Eyes

Irritated Or Injured Eye

Irritated Or Injured Eye

Our eyes are particularly sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet radiation. For example, even a very short exposure of our eyes to ultraviolet radiation can cause painful (but normally temporary) conditions like conjunctivitus or photokeratitis. These are painful conditions because they inflame the cornea of the eye causing our eyes to water and to blur our vision.

Another disorder that can be caused by exposure to UV rays is “flash burn”, “ground-glass eye ball” and “snow blindness”. Add to that the fact that red sore eyes after a long day in bright sunlight can make us tired and ornery.

Our eyes are most sensitive to ultraviolet radiation that is in the 210nm to 320nm range (also known as UV-C and UV-B), while the cornea is most susceptible to absorbing UV rays of 280nms. UV-A ultraviolet radiation is associated with causing cataracts in our eyes.

Those Most At Risk From UV Radiation

Many humans are at risk from the potential harm ultraviolet radiation can cause them. Here is an abbreviated list of some of the occupations where the danger from ultraviolet radiation is highest:

  • Construction workers;
  • Contractors and surveyors;
  • Painters;
  • Plasma torch operators;
  • Welder;
  • Agricultural workers;
  • Forestry workers;
  • Fishermen;
    • Recreational Activities like:
      • Fishing;
      • Sailing;
      • Skiing;
      • Golf;
      • Sunbathing;
      • Flying;
      • Driving;
      • Any activity outdoors.
    • And many more…

    Sunglasses Are Essential To Protect Your Eyes

    An excellent pair of aviator sunglasses that will absorb 98 to 100% of that harmful ultraviolet radiation are essential for anyone who spends a great deal of time outdoors.

    Whether you are outdoors for work or pleasure the UV rays from the sun are working on your skin and eyes. Overtime and with prolonged exposure to the sun those UV rays will cause problems for your skin and eyes.

    Always protect your eyes from harmful uv radiation by wearing a quality pair of sunglasses, not those cheap sunglasses you find in the aisles of pharmacies, malls and mega grocery stores!

    Video On Ultraviolet Radiation

    Aviator Sunglasses

    Bright Chrome Frame Bayonet Temple Gray Glass Lens Randolph Aviator Sunglasses

    Bright Chrome Frame Bayonet Temple Gray Glass Lens Randolph Aviator Sunglasses

    On our website you can find a great selection of excellent sunglasses at Randolph Engineering Sunglasses where you are sure to find a style to suit you and which will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

    Keep your eyes cool and protected today my friend!

    About John White a/k/a JetAviator7

    p.s. Please share “What Is Ultraviolet Radiation?” with your friends. Thanks!

One thought on “What Is Ultraviolet Radiation?

  1. Ultra -violet radiation,x-rays and gamma rays are very energetic(can cause chemical change) and will cause immediate chemical breakdown in organic tissue.Free radicals will form and premature local aging will occur together with an increased likelihood of eventual skin cancer.

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