Winter Olympics 2022

February 12, 2022

Man ski jumping in the sky

The Winter Olympics are in full force right now, and Team USA is sporting the proper eyewear during the games. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to protect your eyes in the winter elements. Whether you’re into skiing, snowboarding, or spectating, sun protection is a necessity. Here are some helpful tips when it comes to winter sports and activities.


Contact Lenses are PracticalMan ski jumping in the sky

While glasses may provide exceptional vision, they are not always very practical when it comes to intense sports and outdoor activities. Glasses can move around or fall off your face with lots of movement. Fogged up lenses in a frame that does not fit well under snow goggles are a distraction that professional athletes need to avoid.

Daily disposable contact lenses are perfect for both professional athletes, and those of us who are not quite of Olympian caliber. Any sweat or dirt that makes its way onto the contacts goes straight to the trash at the end of the day with the contacts. There is no need to clean and reuse the contact lenses because a fresh pair will be waiting for you the next day. Dailies are also better for dry eyes, as they have better comfort and wearability.

If contact lenses are simply not a possible option, some manufacturers make snow goggles that are specifically designed to fit over a pair of glasses. They have adequate ventilation to increase airflow and minimize fogging. Anti-fog solutions can also be used on the lenses prior to competition.


UV Protection

Ultraviolet (UV) light constantly radiates from the sun, even on cloudy days. Snow can reflect 80% of UV rays, which is much more than that of grass, pavement, and water. Given that information, it is no surprise that people are more light sensitive when the ground is covered in snow. Participants and spectators of the Winter Olympics are subjected to an immense amount of UV light from reflections off the snow. Tinted goggles and sunglasses are the perfect way to protect the eyes from UV light exposure.

The amount of light that goes through the lens is measured as a percentage, called the visible light transmission (VLT). Based on the lighting conditions, the athlete might switch to a darker or lighter tint to help optimize visibility. A gray or black tint works best on bright days, whereas an amber tint might be preferred on an overcast day. Not only do mirror-coated lenses look cool, but they also serve the purpose of reflecting even more light and glare from the lenses. Regardless of the tint, the lenses should still provide 100% UV protection.

Polarization is a personalized preference when it comes to snow sports. While polarization is excellent at minimizing glare and improving clarity, this can be hazardous on the slopes. Many avid skiers and snowboarders actually prefer seeing some glare because it is easier to spot and avoid icy patches on the snow.


Woman snowboarding Safety Factor

Snow goggles and sunglasses protect the eyes from the blustery, winter wind and any flying debris in the air. When zooming down a slope at high speeds, a little bug in the air can cause some serious pain to an unprotected eye. Hopefully the athletes can stay on their feet and land the jumps, but in case there is a fall or wipeout, it is important to have the eyes protected from the hard ground and possible ice.

Goggles and sunglasses also act as a barrier to protect the eyes against the cold, dry air that can contribute to dry eye syndrome. Eyes tend to water when outside in the winter because there is an overcompensation of tears trying to alleviate the dryness. A good seal between the face and snow goggles is an important component that the athletes take into consideration when selecting eye protection, especially when it comes to the Olympics.


Even if you don’t participate in snow sports, it is still very important to wear sunglasses in the winter.
As for the adventurous people on the slopes – wear your eye protection, be careful, and GO TEAM USA!

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