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Child-size protective goggles for use during ultra-violet light therapy, London, England, 1930-1935

Ultraviolet light therapy or actinotherapy uses UV light. UV light kills bacteria and was used in the treatment of skin tuberculosis (lupus vulgaris) and rickets. Rickets was common in those with a vitamin D deficient diet. A lack of sunlight also contributed to the condition. High concentrations of UV light can damage the eyes, so green plastic goggles like these were worn by children undergoing treatment. UV light treatment was pioneered by Neils Ryberg Finsen (1860-1904) in 1894.

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Glossary: actinotherapy

the treatment of disorders with infrared or ultraviolet radiation

Glossary: goggles

Protective coverings for the eyes having special lenses with shields at the sides and sometimes projecting rims or eye tubes; may consist of two lenses or a single frame and either held in place by two sidepieces extending around the ears or a strap that passes around the back of the head.

Glossary: bacteria

Micro-organisms which can cause disease but have an important role in global ecology.

Glossary: ultraviolet radiation

Invisible electromagnetic radiation beyond the visible spectrum. UV radiation is emitted by the Sun and is the main cause of sunburn.