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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 cold rains and sometimes snow are also on their way. You wouldn't ever think of leaving the house without a jacket in freezing weather, however surprisingly, a lot of people leave their sunglasses at home. While many of us don't think about the shining sun during times that we are battling the frigid winter climate, the sun's rays are still a present danger during the winter months, and in many instances can be even stronger.

On occasions that you frequent an area with snow, it is wise to be even more careful. Especially following a snow storm, the blanket of snow covering the world around you, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, without sunglasses it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outdoors after a heavy snow. The UV exposure that most of us are so careful about during the summer may really be more hazardous during the winter months due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a second exposure. This is the reason proper sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.

Even though you want to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is being certain they will properly protect your eyes. Check that your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays by looking for confirmation 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, you don't necessarily have to purchase designer glasses for adequate coverage for your eyes. Dozens of inexpensive options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

A further important consideration in selecting sun wear is frame size. You want to make sure the lenses completely cover 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. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also keep UV waves from sneaking in from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes, so you need to be especially sure to keep your eyes guarded on the hills. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to add on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be informed about the dangers of the sun's radiation to your eyes throughout the year. Don't leave home without your shades.