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

Winter Sun Exposure and Your Eyes

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Winter is officially here, which means in some places whipping winds and cold precipitation are also on the horizon. The majority of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a coat in cooler conditions, but unfortunately, far too many people don't think to take their sunglasses. While the sun may not be our first consideration when we are bundling up against the freezing winter climate, the sun's rays are still shining down in colder climates, and sometimes can be even stronger.

They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for nothing. Especially following a serious snow fall, the blanket of snow covering the ground, trees and everything else in sight, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, in many cases it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house after a fresh snowfall. The UV radiation that we are all so careful in avoiding in the summertime can actually be more dangerous during the winter due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a second exposure. This is why a good pair of sunglasses is an essential winter accessory.

Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays by looking 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.) The good news is proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of inexpensive options exist that still provide complete UV defense.

Another important consideration in picking the right sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Wrap around frames will also keep harmful rays from sneaking in through the periphery.

For the skiers or snowboarders out there, you should know that the sun's rays are stronger at peak heights, so be even more cautious to keep your eyes protected on the hills. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to wear a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.

This wintertime, keep warm and keep your eyes safe! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.