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Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Aug;35(8):949-52.

Fluorescent light photosensitivity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112.



To determine the prevalence of fluorescent light toxicity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


SLE patients were polled about their symptomatic responses to sunlight and cool white fluorescent light. Photometry was used to determine the levels of ultraviolet (UV) emissions from fluorescent lamps.


Thirteen of 30 photosensitive SLE patients described increases in disease activity following exposure to unshielded fluorescent lamps. Photometry indicated that these lamps emit substantial levels of UV-B (280-320 nm) radiation, which is toxic to patients with SLE. Standard acrylic diffusers absorbed this radiation, and their use was associated with almost no patient-reported problems.


Fluorescent lamps, emitting UV-B radiation, induce disease activity in photosensitive SLE patients. Standard acrylic diffusers absorb UV-B radiation and appear to be protective against induction of disease activity with the use of fluorescent lamps.

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