People who see the sun in the desert may experience irritation and damage to the eye due to sunlight’s ultraviolet rays, according to new research.
The study found people in areas of the world where sun exposure is most frequent, such as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, have a higher incidence of irritation due to UVB radiation than people in countries where sun is more common, such.
However, the researchers noted people who are exposed to a higher amount of UVB and/or high amounts of pollution or pollution-induced pollution in these areas have less damage to their eyes, leading to the conclusion the exposure to sunlight is more likely to lead to eye irritation than pollution-caused irritation.
The research is the first to investigate the link between exposure to sunlight and eye injury, said Dr Caroline DeCoster, who led the research at the University of Sydney.
She said this study also showed that people who were exposed to pollution and pollution-related pollution had more damage to eyes.
“The findings have important implications for public health in these countries, particularly for those with higher rates of UVA (ultraviolet-B) exposure,” Dr DeCosters said.
The researchers looked at the prevalence of sun exposure and pollution in different countries around the world.
They looked at data from the World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report for the year 2009 and compared that with the prevalence in the years from 2010 to 2015.
They also looked at factors such as age, gender, marital status and ethnicity, and then used data from national health statistics to analyse the number of sunburns in each country.
They found that people living in the western Pacific Ocean and the northern parts of Australia experienced a higher number of UVs than those living in other areas of Asia, the Americas, Africa and Latin America.
However they also found people living elsewhere in the world were more likely than people living further south to have more severe skin irritation and injury to the eyes.
Dr DeCoder said the findings showed the sun’s harmful effects were more concentrated in people living far from the coast, where they were more susceptible to pollution-linked irritation.
“This is an important finding because the effect of sun on eye injury has been well-studied in other studies and the effects of pollution-driven pollution have been well studied as well,” she said.
“In the tropics, for example, people have more exposure to pollution in coastal areas, but these areas are also the most polluted.”
Dr DeCamp said this was an important result because in some countries the effects can be severe, and in others people with higher levels of pollution exposure have less severe eye damage.
“If you are at the coast of a tropical country, you might have less of an effect, but if you are in the north of the country, then the impact of pollution is more severe and it can lead to more severe injury to your eyes,” she explained.
“It’s the effect that we can’t see on the ground.”
Dr David Rennie, of the University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said while the study did not show the sun was causing more damage than pollution, it showed the effect was more severe in the tropic than the rest of the globe.
“We found that, although we didn’t find that the sun is causing more skin irritation than the other pollutants, it is still a very severe impact on the eyes of the people living close to the coast,” he said.
Dr Rennies study showed the effects were also more severe than in other parts of the troposphere, but he said this could be down to different factors such how pollution and polluted air affects the skin.
“There are other factors, like air quality, that are more important,” he explained.
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