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Home » What's New » The Winter Sun and Your Eyes

The Winter Sun and Your Eyes


It's official! Winter is here, which means in some locations whipping winds and freezing precipitation aren't far behind. You wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a coat in overcast conditions; nevertheless unfortunately, a lot of people don't think to take their sunglasses. While the sun isn't always our primary consideration when we are venturing out to the frigid winter climate, the sun's rays are still a present danger in colder climates, and in many instances can be even stronger.


For times when you find yourself snowed in, it is wise to be even more careful. In particular in the aftermath of a snow storm, the world around takes on a sparkling glow thanks to the sunlight reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the earth. In fact, in many cases it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outdoors after a heavy snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that we are all so careful in protecting ourselves against during the summer may actually be more hazardous during the winter months due to the fact that it reflects off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is the reason a pair of sunglasses is a crucial winter accessory.


Even though you want to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they will properly do their job. Be sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by checking for an indication that they are labeled UV 400 (this means they block all light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which includes both UVA and UVB rays.) Don't worry, proper protection for your eyes doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive pair. Dozens of inexpensive brands are made with full ultraviolet defense.


Another important consideration in choosing sun wear is the size of the frame. You will have the most protection when your glasses completely shield your eyes and if possible the areas around them as well. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful UV rays will be able to penetrate. Wrap around frames will also keep radiation from entering through the periphery.


Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are essential to wear on the water because the water intensifies the sun's rays, this also applies to snow and ice. Consequently it is equally important to put on sunglasses during times when you go out in the snow. Further ultraviolet radiation is more powerful at greater elevations such as mountain ski slopes.


Be knowledgeable about suitable eye protection all year round. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.