Winter has officially arrived, which means in some locations bitter cold winds and frigid precipitation are also in the forecast. You wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in icy conditions, however unfortunately, far too many people don't think to wear sunglasses. Although the sun may not be our primary concern during times that we are venturing out to the frigid winter climate, the sun's rays are still in full force during the winter months, and in certain circumstances can be even stronger.
If you find yourself snowed in, you should be even more careful. In particular in the aftermath of a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glow due to the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, it can hurt to open your eyes when you first step outside following a glistening snowfall. The ultraviolet radiation that we are all so vigilant in protecting ourselves against in the summer months can actually be more dangerous in the wintertime since it reflects off the snow or ice, resulting in a second exposure. This is the reason sunglasses are an essential part of your winter wardrobe.
Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important part of selecting sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Check that they are 100% UV blocking 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.) Don't worry, proper sun protection doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive pair. Many of the more inexpensive options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.
Another important consideration in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You will have the most protection when the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Wrap around frames will also stop harmful rays from sneaking in through the periphery.
For those who enjoy snow or ice sports, it’s important to be aware that the sun's radiation is more powerful at higher elevations, so you need to be particularly sure to keep your eyes protected on the ski slope. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to wear a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.
It's important to be informed about the dangers of UV damage to your eyes all year round. Don't leave home without your sunglasses.