It's official! Winter is here, which means in some areas whipping winds and cold rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. You would never even think of leaving the house without a jacket in cooler weather, but unfortunately, far too many people leave their sunglasses behind. While the sun isn't always our first concern during times that we are bundling up against the bitter cold, the sun is still a present danger in colder climates, and in certain circumstances can be even stronger.
They don't call it a "winter wonderland" for nothing. In particular following a snow storm, the world around takes on a glistening glow as a result of the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house after a glistening snowfall. The UV exposure that we are all so careful in avoiding during the summer months can really be more hazardous during the winter months due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is the reason good sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.
Although you want to look great in your shades, the most important consideration when deciding upon a pair of sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by checking for confirmation that they are labeled UV 400 (this means they block all light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which includes both UVA and UVB rays.) Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to purchase designer glasses to guarantee full protection from UV. Many of the more inexpensive options exist that still provide complete UV defense.
Another important factor in choosing sun wear is the size of the frame. You will have the most protection when the lenses are large enough to completely cover your eyes and if possible the surrounding areas. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful radiation will be able to enter. Wrap around frames will also keep harmful rays from entering from the sides.
For the skiers or snowboarders out there, it’s important to be aware that ultraviolet rays are stronger at peak heights, so be especially sure to keep your eyes protected on the ski slope. For added protection put on a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.
This wintertime, stay warm and stay protected! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.