Protect Yourself from UV  Radiation
         ost Americans
         understand the link
         between ultraviolet (UV)
radiation and skin cancer. Many
are less aware of the connection
between UV radiation and eye
damage. With increased  levels
of UV radiation reaching the
Earth's surface, largely due
to stratospheric ozone layer
depletion, it is important to take
the necessary precautions to
protect your eyes.
United States
Environmental Protection
Potential  Effects of  UV  Radiation
on  Eyes
UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or artificial UV rays, can
damage the eye, affecting surface tissues and internal structures, such as
the cornea and lens.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation can lead to cataracts, skin cancer
around the eyelids, and other eye disorders.
In the short term, excessive exposure to UV radiation from daily activities,
including reflections off of snow, pavement, and other surfaces, can burn
the front surface of the eye, similar to a sunburn on the skin.
The cumulative effects of spending long hours in the sun without
adequate  eye protection can increase the likelihood of developing the
following eye disorders:

   # Cataract: A clouding of the eye's lens that can blur vision.
   # Snow Blindness (PhOtOkeratitiS): A temporary but painful bum
      to the cornea caused by a day at the beach without sunglasses;
      reflections off of snow, water, or concrete; or exposure to artificial
      light sources such as tanning beds.
   # Pterygilim: An abnormal, but usually non-cancerous, growth
      in the corner of the eye. It can grow over the cornea, partially
      blocking vision, and may require surgery to be removed.
   # Skin Cancer around the Eyelids: Basal cell carcinoma is the most
      common type of skin cancer to affect the eyelids. In most cases,
      lesions occur on the lower lid, but they can occur anywhere on
      the eyelids, in the corners of the eye, under the eyebrows, and
      on adjacent areas of the face.

   Did You Know....
   # 22.3 million Americans have cataracts.
   # The direct medical costs of cataracts are $6.8 billion annually.

   Source: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and
   Human Services, www.nei.nih.gov and Prevent Blindness America, www.preventblindness.org
   Recycled/Recyclable—Printed with vegetable oil-based inks on processed chlorine-free paper that contains at least 50% post-consumer fiber.

EPA's SunWise  Program:
Educating  Youth About Sun Safety

The SunWise Program is an environmental and
health education program that teaches children
and their caregivers how to protect themselves
from overexposure to the sun. The program uses
classroom, school, and community components to
develop sustained sun-safe behaviors in children.

When choosing sunglasses for children, SunWise,
in partnership with Prevent Blindness America,
recommends that you:

»  Read the labels: Always look for labels that
   clearly state the sunglasses block 99-100
   percent of  UV-A and UV-B rays.

#  Check often to make
   sure the sunglasses
   fit well and are not

   Choose sunglasses
   that fit your child's
   face and lifestyle but
   that are large enough
   to shield the eyes
   from most  angles.

#  Find a wide-brimmed
   hat to wear with the
   sunglasses. Wide-brimmed hats greatly reduce
   the amount of UV radiation that reaches the eyes.

For more information about SunWise and how you
can participate, please visit www.epa.gov/sunwise.
Protect Your  Eyes
 a  program that radiates good ideas
 A Partnership Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ausust i
The greatest amount of UV protection is achieved with a
combination of: sunglasses that bfock 99-100 percent of both
UV-A and UV-B rays; a wide-brimmed hat; and for those who wear
contact lenses, UV-blocking contacts. Wrap-around sunglasses and
wide-brimmed hats add extra protection because they help block
UV rays from entering the eyes from the sides and above.

Frequently Asked  Questions

Q: Who is at risk for eye damage?

A: Everyone is at risk. Every person in every ethnic group is
   susceptible to eye damage from UV radiation.

Q: When do I need to wear sunglasses?

A: Every day, even on cloudy days. Snow, water, sand, and
   pavement reflect UV rays, increasing the amount reaching
   your eyes and skin.

Q: What should I look for when choosing a pair of sunglasses?

A: No matter what sunglass styles or options you choose, you
   should insist that your sunglasses block 99-100 percent of
   both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Q: Do I have to buy expensive sunglasses to ensure that I am
   being protected from UV radiation?

A: No. As long as the label says that the glasses provide
   99-100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection, price should
   not be a deciding  factor.

Q: Do all contact lenses block UV rays?

A: No. Not all contact lenses offer UV protection and not
   all provide similar absorption levels. Ask your eye care
   professional for more information, and remember, a
   combination approach works best!

For more  information, contact:

American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.aao.org
American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org
National Eye Institute, www.nei.nih.gov
Prevent Blindness America, www.preventblindness.org
  posure to UV radiation has cumulative effects on the
  es. Damage today leads to eye problems tomorrow.