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People damaging their eyes with at-home efforts to battle COVID-19

UV lamps can cause ‘very painful’ damage to your cornea, doctor says

Doctors say the use of UV lights in an improper way can cause temporary damage to your cornea "and it’s very painful."
Doctors say the use of UV lights in an improper way can cause temporary damage to your cornea "and it’s very painful."

MIAMI – There’s a growing concern about people unintentionally damaging their eyes in an effort to ward off infection from COVID-19.

“In the publication we just put out, there have been people using germicidal lamps which are basically consumer-available UV emitting lamps that you can buy,” said Dr. Jesse Sangillo of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “The patients are using them in an attempt to sanitize against COVID and what happens if you’re directly exposed to the light and the lamp improperly, then you can get a little bit of temporary damage to your cornea and it’s very painful.”

Sangillo said patients are treated with a topical lubricant that provides comfort and helps health the cornea which has produced positive results.

He said the same type of cornea damage has been seen with people exposed to long periods of sunlight, including people who like to snow and water ski.

And in other coronavirus news, researchers have identified a link between air pollution and a spike in COVID-19 infections.

According to a recent study in the United Kingdom, temperature changes, Saharan sand storms and air pollution may contribute to the spikes.

The fine particulate matter can increase inflammation in the body, raising the risk of some lung diseases.

Scientists have long been aware of the relationship between air pollution and fine particulate matter on respiratory illnesses such as seasonal flu.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.