Sunglasses in the Winter: Why You Should Wear Your Shades

You don't have to put away your favorite shades just because the temperature has dropped. Wearing sunglasses in the winter is just as important to eye health as wearing them in the summer. Think of your sunglasses as protection from the elements. You wouldn't leave your umbrella at home in the rain or your heavy coat at home on a cold day. So why not wear your protective eye wear on sunny winter days?

Damaging Rays

Wearing sunglasses in the winter is important because the sun's rays are still strong even though the sun sits lower in the sky than during summer. According to the Mayo Clinic, ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage your cornea, lens and other parts of your eye including the eyelid skin. UV radiation from sun exposure can also be a contributing factor in the development of certain types of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration.

Reflecting The Light

Ultraviolet rays from the sun reach the ground no matter what season it is. Being on or near water, snow or ice can increase the amount of UV radiation you receive. That's why you don't just need sunglasses at the beach or pool but also when you hit the ski slopes or an outdoor ice rink in winter. Ultraviolet exposure is stronger at higher altitudes as well, so skiers, hiker and mountain climbers need to wear sunglasses in winter as part of their protective gear. The American Cancer Society says research has shown that long hours in the sun without eye protection can increase your chances of developing certain eye diseases. That's why the society recommends you wear sunglasses that block UV rays to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them. The most protective glasses will block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, so be sure to check labels before you buy and look for the phrase "UV absorption up to 400 nm" or "Meets ANSI UV Requirements." Polarized lenses help reduce glare which is especially helpful for skiers and snowboarders wearing sunglasses in the winter.

Style Over Substance?

Style is, of course, an important part of selecting sunglasses. But did you know that the darkness of the lenses doesn't make any difference in how well the glasses protect against UV rays? The protection comes from an invisible chemical on the lenses rather than their color, so choose the tint that best suits your vision or style. Just like a large-brimmed hat, large-framed and wraparound sunglasses will protect your eyes from more sunlight coming in from different angles. Skiers and snowboarders might want to consider sunglasses with blue-blocking lenses that can make distant objects easier in snow or haze. Some goggle have these types of lenses that have an amber tint.

The weather in winter may often be gray and chilly, but remember that wearing sunglasses in winter is just as important as in summer. And when the sun emerges on a cold winter day, that's even more reason to put on your favorite shades. Looking for a new pair of sunglasses? Woodhams has a wide selection of designer sunglasses that would make the perfect Christmas gift! For questions or comments, contact Woodhams Eye Clinic.