Summer is the time for sunglasses and eye protection, right? Actually, sunglasses and eye protection are important during the winter as well. This is particularly true if you live in a cold weather climate. Snow on the ground reflect’s the sun’s rays, which in turn causes sunburn, sun glare, and eye damage. In fact, up to 85% of ultraviolet rays may be reflected up from the snow and into your eyes. This is why winter protection is so important, even on cloudy days.
Of course, summer or winter sunglasses are the best protection for your eyes, but not all sunglasses are created equal. Look for sunglasses that:
- Protect you from UVA and UVB rays – 100% UV protection is preferred
- Are large enough to protect your entire eye from sun exposure
- Stay on your face without sliding down your nose or rubbing your ears
- Are impact resistant – polycarbonate lenses rather than glass
- Are polarized – polarized lenses are ideal for winter months and help cut glare from the ice and snow.
- Have amber or grey colored lenses – these are the best for vision on both cloudy and sunny days. Amber is better for driving. Grey is better for bright sunshine.
In addition to wearing sunglasses, you may want to consider wearing a hat with a brim. Baseball hats and ski hats with a visor can help protect your eyes from the sun’s bright rays. Look for dark-colored visors that don’t reflect the sun.
Goggles are strongly recommended if you’re going to be doing any type of sport or activity. Snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding and running are all activities that can be enjoyed in the winter time.
Snow goggles protect your eyes well because they fit snugly to your face. There aren’t any openings where debris or wind can get inside. However, some goggles can fog up. Make sure they fit well to help prevent this from happening. Again, look for a good fit, polarized lenses, UV protection and other basic sunglass essentials. And the higher up you go, the more important eye protection is. The UV rays have less to filter them and thus are stronger at higher elevations.
If you normally pack your sunglasses away once the snow begins to fall, change your routine. Wear good quality sunglasses and goggles year around to protect your eyes from damage.