MV and cateracts

Chris Raper triocomp at
Tue May 19 08:01:01 EDT 1998

On Thu, 1 May 1997 08:22:04 +1000 (EST), (Anonymous User) wrote:

In article <33675312.21554576 at>, you wrote:

> On Tue, 29 Apr 1997 19:39:02 -0700, Martin Hough
> <mothman at> wrote:
> >Opinions, please, on the possibility of developing cataracts after too
> >much proximity to a white 125 w MV bulb. The standard answer is that
> >glass prevents harmful UV radiation, but how much instance is there
> >of lepidopterists having their eyes affected?
> >
> >Of course, I do realise that cataracts can arise as part of the ordinary
> >ageing process!

> Well, I don't have anything definitive but I know one (not too
> elderly) Lepidopterist who has had very bad cataracts after trapping
> with similar equipment for a number of years but I also know many more
> who have been trapping longer and, although they all wear glasses
> (presumably as a side effect of the strain put on the eyes identifying
> and setting moths) they don't have cataracts.
> Hope that reassures you - personally I would avoid any eye to bulb
> contact when trapping, especially with high-wattage UV bulbs. I like
> to wear a peaked cap which I pull down low and use to block out the
> bulb from wherever I am standing. It also stops the mozzies and moths
> flying into your eyes!


Apparently most plastic lenses block out UV very well; maybe a cheap
pair of plastic goggles similar to those used in workshops etc. might
be a good investment.  My current pair of prescription glasses has a
built-in filter to block out UV from the sun, which would presumably
be good for blocking out MV produced UV.

Also, as an addendum to light-trapping in safety, I think it is a good
idea to put earplugs or cotton wool in your ears, as a small insect in
the middle ear is agonisingly painful!

BTW, I think being very short-sighted (like myself!) often predisposes
some of us to look at tiny things close-up!


Dave B.

David R. Britton, Biological Sciences,
University of Wollongong NSW Australia 2522
(Ph) 61-42-213436 (Fax) 61-42-214135, email <davidb at>

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