Sunglasses in the Winter

January 9, 2019

Winter Shades

Advertisements have tricked us into only associating sunglasses with warm summer days. However, harmful UV rays are present year-round, which means we need to be wearing those sunglasses no matter what the temperature outdoors!

UV Damage

Ultraviolet (UV) light constantly radiates from the sun, even on cloudy days. These invisible waves can cause damage to your eyes, and the risk increases with increased sun exposure. Not surprisingly, there is a greater risk to those who live near the equator, higher altitudes, and rural areas (skyscrapers in urban areas tend to shade the streets). It is very important to wear sunglasses during the winter because snow can reflect 80% of UV rays, which is much more than that of grass, pavement, and water.

Harmful UV rays can expedite the formation of cataracts, play a role in the development of macular degeneration, and cause photokeratitis (corneal sunburn). Photokeratitis is a very painful condition that usually occurs after the eyes are unprotected during outdoor snow activities, such as skiing. The powerful reflected UV rays from the snow causes swelling of the cornea, which can be sight-threatening. Protective goggles for snow activities should include lenses that block out 99 to 100% of UV rays. Thankfully, sunglasses provide adequate protection against dangerous UV rays while outside in the winter.

Nobody Wants More Glare

The extra UV rays reflected from snow causes additional glare that makes it difficult to see in bright conditions. This can be dangerous while driving on a sunny day with a surrounding snow-covered landscape. Polarized sunglasses are excellent at decreasing the amount of glare reflecting off of snow, which ultimately improves visibility.

Protection for Dry Eyes

At some point, we have all experienced watering eyes in the cold, blustery, winter wind. This is our eyes screaming, “We’re drying out!” When our eyes get dry, a message is sent to the brain to produce more tears. Therefore, we get an abundance of poor-quality tears that overcompensate for the dryness. Rather than crying through the grocery store parking lot, throw on a pair of shades for the walk back to your car. Sunglasses not only provide UV protection, but they are also a barrier to protect your eyes against the cold, dry air.

Fashion Statement

Who says you can only be stylish wearing sunglasses when sitting on a beach in the summer? Sunglasses are a fashion statement year-round. You can pick any frame color, shape, and lens tint to match your winter wardrobe – the options are endless! If you want the convenience of driving or reading with sunglasses, then prescription sunglasses are for you. Already wear contact lenses? Consider sunglasses with no prescription for wearing over the contacts. Lastly, Transitions® are the best of both worlds; Prescription glasses that automatically turn into sunglasses once exposed to UV light.

With so many options, it is important to make sure the sunglasses have the proper amount of UV protection. Time to upgrade those $4.99 sunglasses from the pharmacy for a quality, durable pair of shades that are handpicked for you by one of our Weber Vision Care opticians. We will ensure the frames fit correctly and provide you with the best sun-protection.