Health effects of UV radiation


The depletion of the ozone layer reduces the natural protection of our atmosphere against the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. This webpage provides an overview of the main health problems associated with overexposure to UV radiation. By understanding these risks and taking reasonable precautions, you can enjoy the sun and reduce your risk of sun-related health problems.

Skin cancer

Each year, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States than new cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. One American dies of skin cancer every hour. Unprotected exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Interesting content is published here.

Premature ageing and other skin damage

Other UV-related skin disorders include actinic keratoses and premature skin ageing. Actinic keratoses are skin growths that appear on areas of the body exposed to the sun. The face, hands, forearms and the "V" of the neck are particularly susceptible to this type of lesion. Although pre-malignant, actinic keratoses are a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma. Look for raised, reddish, rough-textured growths and seek prompt medical attention if they are found.

Chronic exposure to the sun also causes premature ageing which, over time, can make the skin thick, wrinkled and leathery. 

Cataracts and other eye damage

Cataracts are a form of eye damage in which a loss of transparency in the lens of the eye impairs vision. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of some cataracts. Although curable with modern eye surgery, cataracts impair the vision of millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars in medical care each year.