Most people think of sunglasses as summer gear, but in some ways, it’s even more important to wear sunglasses in certain winter conditions than in the warm summer months.

Thanks to public awareness campaigns about the risks of skin cancer, more people are aware that UV rays and intense sunlight are bad for our skin. Sunblock, clothing, and shade are regularly used to protect us. Do you know that UV rays are damaging to our eyes, too?

Prolonged UV exposure raises risks for:

  • Cataracts
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Pingueculae
  • Pterygia
  • Photokeratitis

In the warmer months, we think about protection from the sun because we expose so much skin and can experience sunburns when we’re not covered. In the winter, however, people are colder, and bundled up, so they don’t think of the sun as a risk. This is a problem because snow can reflect 80% of UV rays! That means you’re experiencing normal sunlight from being outside, and harsh glares from white surfaces.

The fatiguing effects of winter glares become apparent usually when doing outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, or sledding, but driving in bright wintry conditions can also be damaging and dangerous. It’s important to be protected year-round!

When looking for appropriate winter sunwear, remember:

  • Good sunglasses offer UV protection, so always be sure to check that they block 100% UVA/UVB rays.
  • Larger glasses are in style, which is great because the bigger lens protects more of your eyes and the skin around your eyes from UV damage. Look for a large lens and wraparound style.
  • Don’t worry about the color or darkness of the lens. Those things can vary while still providing adequate UV protection. Check the label for that information, or speak to an optician.
  • Remember, polarization is for more than fishermen! Especially in the winter months when ice and snow can cause harsh glares, polarization can be a big help.
  • Specialty eyewear exists for all of your favorite winter sports. Be sure your eyes are protected from the sun and safe during sports.

Talk to us if you have any questions about your UV exposure or any specialty eyewear you need to live your active winter lifestyle!