Jean-Marie Parel, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2001
For pioneering contrubtions to ophthalmic biophysics and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic instruments for various diseases of the eye.

COVID’s Collateral Damage: Germicidal UV Lamps Can Damage Corneas

Via Scitech Daily | January 7, 2021

Injected conjunctiva (redness) of the right and left eye (top row) Diffuse staining of the cornea with green dye indicating epithelial damage (bottom row). Credit: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

In a paper published in the journal of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation, physicians from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine reported that several patients using germicidal lamps in an attempt to sanitize against the coronavirus, developed painful inflammation of the cornea, a condition called photokeratitis. These consumer-available ultraviolet (UV) emitting devices were being used in an attempt to eliminate coronavirus from homes and offices.

“During the height of the pandemic, we noticed an increased number of patients coming in with irritation, pain and sensitivity to light,” said first author and Bascom Palmer resident Jesse Sengillo, M.D. “We realized this was after direct exposure to germicidal lamps that emit UV light in the C range to kill bacteria and viruses. This can be quite a painful experience for the patient, but with prompt topical lubrication and antibiotics to prevent infection, patients often do very well… Continue reading.