Sunglasses conjure up images of fun in the sun, but don’t retire your specs during the winter. Glare and UV rays, which can damage your eyes, can be even more intense in the winter than in the summer.
Sunglasses also shield your eyes from harsh, wintry winds and flying debris. Whether you’re taking a stroll on a winter’s day or hitting the slopes, don’t forget your sunglasses or UV-protective goggles.
1. Your Eyes Need Protection from UV Rays Also in the Winter
Even though we don’t feel as much heat from the sun’s rays in the winter, and there are fewer hours of sunlight, we still need to protect our eyes from UV rays when the weather is cold.
According to the National Eye Institute, UV rays play a direct role in the development of cataracts, the clouding of the lens of the eyes. In addition, ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of other eye conditions, including:
- Age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness
- Corneal sunburn (photokeratitis) – can cause temporary vision loss
- Pterygium – a growth that can develop on the cornea and limit vision
- Skin cancer – can affect the eyelids
2. Sunglasses Shield Your Eyes from Glare
A winter landscape may provide a breathtaking view and shareable photos, but when sunlight bounces off snow and ice it can interfere with your ability to see clearly. Glare created by reflected light can make it dangerous to drive and difficult to enjoy winter activities like skiing, ice skating and snowboarding.
Even if there’s no snow or ice, glare can be more severe in the winter because the sun is lower on the horizon, making it appear brighter.
By reducing glare, sunglasses make driving easier and safer, and winter activities more fun. Consider wearing Polarized protective sunglasses, which block glare that reflects off surfaces.
3. Sunglasses Keep Out Wind and Debris
Even the tiniest slivers of dust, stone or ice can cause corneal abrasions. Harsh winds also cause tears to evaporate more quickly, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
To prevent wind and flying debris from entering your eyes, choose close-fitting sunglasses with wrap-around frames or protective goggles especially if you’re hitting the slopes or working outdoors.
4. Protective Eyewear Prevents “Snow Blindness”
“Snow blindness” (photokeratitis), can occur any time of year, even on the beach, but it’s most often associated with the glare created when the sun reflects off white, snowy surfaces. This exposure can cause the eye to become sunburned, even on the coldest days. This sunburn causes temporary partial or total vision loss. The risk is greater at higher altitudes, where UV rays are more intense.
To avoid snow blindness, wear wraparound sunglasses or UV protective sports goggles.
Choosing the Right Winter Sunglasses
Don’t be tempted to pick up a random pair of sunglasses. Be sure to select quality sunglasses that screen out 100% of UVA and UVB rays and are durable enough to wear all year long.
Talk to our eye care professionals about prescription sunglasses and protective eyewear. At Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque we help our customers choose the right eyewear so you can look your best while protecting your eyes.
- A: The following are some of the benefits of prescription sunglasses:With made-to-order sunglasses, patients can choose custom features, such as tinted, thin, or anti-glare lenses
- Polarized prescription lenses block glare
- For people who need vision correction, there’s no need to buy two pairs of glasses
- Protection from UV rays
- Durability and high-quality materials
- A: If you get tired of switching between regular eyeglasses and sunglasses or using clip-on shades, photochromic lenses will darken as your surroundings become brighter. These lenses are activated by exposure to UV rays.Photochromic lenses can correct a wide range of vision problems, including nearsightedness and farsightedness, and are also available in bifocal, high-index, and progressive lenses. To enhance the protection provided by photochromic lenses, choose a pair with an anti-reflective coating that blocks glare.
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.