Ultraviolet Incident

​​Key Learning Points

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • While attempting to visualize the results of a DNA digestion on a UV transilluminator, a new technician removed his face shield to get a close​r look (the bands were indistinct), exposing his unprotected eyes for about a minute. 

  • A researcher turns on a light box he has repaired to ascertain that it works properly. His eyes were exposed to UV light for about 30 seconds

  • A student works for fifteen minutes at a clean air bench while the UV is on. She was not wearing any eye protection.
Several hours after each of these incidents, these people experienced extreme discomfort as the result of "sunburned" corneas; the delay in the appearance of symptoms is common to this type of injury. Fortunately there were no long-term effects in any of these incidents. Even the briefest exposure to UV light requires eye protection; a face shield is preferable to goggles for avoiding a sunburned face.
Not all shields protect against UV; when ordering, be sure that the item is specified by the manufacturer as providing protection at the wave length(s) used.