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Walter Shurminsky O.D.

Home » News and Events » The Dangers of UV to Your Eyes – In the Winter

The Dangers of UV to Your Eyes – In the Winter

It's official! Winter is here, which means in some areas biting winds and frigid precipitation are also in the forecast. You wouldn't ever think of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in freezing weather, however unfortunately, a lot of people leave their sunglasses at home. While many of us aren't thinking about the shining sun when we are bundling up against the frigid winter climate, the sun's rays are still in full force during the winter months, and sometimes can be even more powerful.

They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for nothing. In particular following a snow storm, the world around takes on a glistening glow due to the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, in many cases it can hurt to open your eyes when you first step outdoors after a glistening snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that we are all so vigilant in avoiding in the summertime can really be more hazardous in the colder season since it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is the reason sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.

While you want to look great in your sunglasses, the most important consideration when deciding upon a pair of sunglasses is making sure they will properly protect your eyes. Check that the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of inexpensive brands are made with full UV defense.

Another important feature in picking the right sun wear is lens size. You will have the most protection when your glasses are large enough to completely guard 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 enter. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent harmful rays from sneaking in through the periphery.

Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are critical water gear since the water reflects the sun's rays, this also applies to frozen water sources including ice and snow. Consequently it is just as critical to put on sunglasses when out in wintery conditions. Also ultraviolet exposure is more forceful at high elevations, so if you have plans to hit the slopes, have this in mind.

This wintertime, stay warm and stay protected! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.