The Sun and the Eyes: Know the facts about harmful UV radiation from the sun on your eyes.
WHAT IS UV RADIATION
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are high energy radiation.   They are  higher in energy on the electromagnetic spectrum so they are not in the visible light spectrum.  The sun is the largest source of UV radiation.
HIGH ENERGY LIGHT: GAMMA RAYS, X-RAYS, ULTRAVIOLET. VISIBLE LIGHT. LOW ENERGY: INFRARED, MICROWAVES, RADIO WAVES; UVC Rays: Most dangerous; high energy; currently blocked by the ozone layer. UVB Rays: Less energy; longer wavelength; partially blocked by the ozone layer but can reach the earth’s surface. UVA Rays: Low energy but dangerous; can pass through the cornea to reach the lens and retina; linked to cataract development
UV RAY ACTIVITY
UV rays are active every day of the year. UV rays are most active between 10 AM and 2 PM. Higher altitudes means higher exposure to UV rays. 40% of UV radiation exposure occurs in indirect sunlight. Children receive 3X more UV radiation exposure than adults. 80% of lifetime UV radiation exposure occurs before the age of 18. UV radiation exposure can come from outdoor reflective surfaces: 80% from fresh snow; 25% from sea foam; 15% from dry sand; 10% from grass, soil and water. UV radiation penetrates more deeply on cloudy days. Tropical locales have higher UV exposure given the proximity to the Equator.
EFFECTS ON THE EYE
Any type of exposure, long term or short term, can have damaging, irreversible effects on the eyes: Macular Degeneration, Pterygium (Surfer's Eye), Skin Cancer of the Eyelid, Photokeratitis, Cataracts
RISKS & FACTS
3.2 million people contribute some type of vision loss from UV radiation. 20% of all cataract cases can be attributed to UV radiation. 5-10% of skin cancer occurs on the eye lids. People with light-colored eyes are at a higher risk for damage from UV ray exposure. People taking certain medications that increase their photosensitivity are at higher risk for UV radiation exposure.
PREVENTIONS
Always check the UV Index before going outside. The higher the index number, the more precautions you need. Do not stare directly into the sun. It could cause you to burn your corneas and damage your lens and retina. Try to wear a wide-rimmed hat with full coverage and increase your protection. For overall protection from the UV rays from the sun, always apply sunscreen before going outside.
EYEWEAR CHECKLIST
Always wear 90-100% UVA & UVB ray protected sunglasses. Have lenses with color recognition that block out more harmful UV rays. Wear lenses that screen out 75-90% visible light. Make sure the lenses are perfectly matched in color recognition, free of distortion and no imperfections in visibility. Do not stare directly into the sun.

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Alphapointe is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has continued to serve people who are blind and visually impaired since 1911.  Headquartered in Kansas City, Alphapointe is the third largest single employer of visually impaired individuals in the U.S., employing over 400 people in nine locations in four states, including our main operations in Kansas City, Missouri and our facility in New York. 

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Kansas City, MO 64132
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87-46 123rd St. 
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