Many people believe that once summer is gone it’s time to put away the sunglasses, but wearing your shades is crucial for winter sun eye care. True, winter’s rays aren’t as direct as they are during the summer, yet the effects of the winter sun can be just as dangerous.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are dangerous to our eyes no matter the time of year, and they can even penetrate overcast clouds so even cloudy days offer little protection. Since these nearly invisible rays are not fully absorbed in our atmosphere (UVA or UVB), they can affect our skin and eyes.
Eyes need protection year-round.
While winter snows are bright and beautiful they can prove dangerous for our eyes, and is why winter sun eye care is so important. Snow on the ground reflects up to 80 percent of the UV rays they encounter, increasing eye strain and UV danger. Our exposure to ultraviolet rays is almost doubled while enjoying outdoor winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding or building a snowman; wearing sunglasses isn’t just for summer.
If you travel to higher elevations to enjoy the snow, know that you are putting yourself at even higher risk. As elevation increases there is less atmosphere over our heads to absorb the UV radiation – increasing the risk. It’s estimated that for every 1,300 feet of elevation gain radiation exposure increases about 18 percent.
Wearing sunglasses in winter also help in other ways.
Snow makes our surroundings brighter than usual. Add in some ice and the situation can get uncomfortable, especially on sunny days. A good pair of sunglasses will reduce glare and minimize eye strain. If glare is especially bothersome, look to buy a pair of sunglasses featuring polarized lenses, which greatly reduce glare.
Cold winter winds also affect eye health by drying them out as they pass by unprotected eyes. Sunglasses can provide protection against winter winds and help the eyes retain a degree of their natural moisture.
When shopping for sunglasses not just any dark-tinted lenses will do. It is important to buy only those marked as offering 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. All quality sunglasses will be properly marked. If you need glasses, most prescriptions can be included in a pair of sunglasses through your eye doctor.
Tower Clock Eye Center offers a wide selection of UV-rated sunglasses, as well as prescription sunglasses. Stop in our optical department for more or call 920 499-3102.
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