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February 22, 1980

Keratoconjunctivitis From Ultraviolet Light

JAMA. 1980;243(8):732-733. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300340012007

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To the Editor.—  The report of keratoconjunctivitis in nursing personnel exposed to ultraviolet rays emitted by an inappropriate bulb in a desk lamp (242:1155, 1979) is important because of the increased use and availability of bacteriocidal ultraviolet lamps. Apparently, the persons involved were exposed to direct rays in addition to light apparently reflected from the desk's surface. I want to report a similar incident that occurred when, as a pathology resident, I was demonstrating anatomic specimens to a group of medical students. We were standing in front of a stainless steel bench that was illuminated by an eye-level fixture equipped with a visor to reduce glare. Incorporated into the fixture was an ultraviolet light designed to suppress the microbiologic flora of the bench top. All of the students and I awoke the following morning with the sensation of having sand in the eyes. The phenomenon was familiar to me, because