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Home » What's New » The Dangers of the Sun to Your Eyes – In the Winter

The Dangers of the Sun to Your Eyes – In the Winter

It's official! Winter is here, which means in some areas whipping winds and cold rains and sometimes snow aren't far behind. Most of us wouldn't ever conceive of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in icy conditions, however surprisingly, far too many people leave their sunglasses at home. Although the sun isn't always our first consideration when we are bundling up against the bitter cold, the sun is still a present danger during the winter months, and sometimes can be even stronger.

They don't call it a "winter wonderland" for no reason. Particularly after a blizzard, the world around takes on a glistening glow as a result of the sun's rays reflecting off of the water molecules blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, in many cases it can hurt to open your eyes when you first leave the house after a glistening snowfall. The ultraviolet radiation that we are all so careful in protecting ourselves against during the summer months may actually be more dangerous in the wintertime due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a second 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 choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make certain your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays 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.) The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more to guarantee full coverage from UV. Dozens of inexpensive brands are made with full coverage.

Another important consideration in choosing sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Glasses with side shield will also stop harmful rays from entering from the sides.

For those who enjoy snow or ice sports, it’s important to be aware that ultraviolet rays are more powerful at higher altitudes, so it's wise to be even more careful to keep your eyes shaded on the ski slope. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Be informed about adequate eye protection all year round. Don't forget to wear your shades.