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Winter UV Exposure and Your Eyes


Winter is officially here, which means in some locations bitter cold winds and frigid rains and sometimes snow aren't far behind. Most of us would never even contemplate of leaving the house without a jacket in overcast conditions; nevertheless unfortunately, many people don't think to put on their sunglasses. While many of us don't think about the shining sun when we are bundling up against the bitter cold, the sun's rays are still in full force during the winter months, and sometimes can be even more powerful.


They don't call it a "winter wonderland" for no reason. In particular after a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glow as a result of the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules blanketing the earth. In fact, without sunglasses it can hurt to open your eyes when you first leave the house after a glistening snow. The UV radiation that many of us are so careful in protecting ourselves against in the summertime can really be more dangerous during the winter months due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a double dose of exposure. This is the reason a good pair of sunglasses is an essential part of your winter wardrobe.


Although it's important to look great in your sunglasses, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they will properly do their job. Check that your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV light by checking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers – UV400. The good news is proper protection for your eyes isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of inexpensive options exist that still provide full protection.


Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the frame. You will have the most protection when your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful radiation will be able to get past your sunglasses. Glasses with side shield will also keep radiation from entering through the sides.


Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are essential to wear at the beach because the water reflects ultraviolet radiation, this is also true for snow and ice. Therefore it is just as critical to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in the snow. Also ultraviolet exposure is more powerful at greater heights such as mountain ski slopes.


This wintertime, keep warm and keep your eyes safe! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.