Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere at any time and place, but certain regions have heightened radiation levels. UV rays are particularly strong near the equator, since they travel a shorter distance to reach the Earth’s surface. Cities at high altitudes also share higher UV levels because the sun’s rays can easily penetrate the thin atmosphere. Below is a map showing the top 25 U.S. cities receiving the highest levels of UV exposure.
UV and Children
Ultraviolet (UV) Light – The Damaging Effect on Young Eyes
Children receive more annual sun exposure than adults because many of their activities are outdoor-based, including school recess, sports and playtime. This increased exposure to sunlight also increases children’s exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) light – an invisible, electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. Children’s eyes differ from adults’ in that children’s ocular lenses cannot filter UV light and prevent it from reaching their retinas as effectively as can adults’ ocular lenses. This results in children’s retinas being exposed to more UV light and susceptible to retinal damage if they are not adequately protected.
Because UV exposure is cumulative, it is important to begin protection at an early age. Over a lifetime, damage from unprotected exposure to UV rays can lead to eye diseases and conditions that will affect the health of the eyes and vision. Unlike the short-term problems caused by UV rays the long-term damage caused by repeated overexposure will not fade as the symptoms and conditions caused by repeated overexposure appear over a longer period of time.
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