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Protecting Your Eyes Against Winter UV Exposure


Winter has officially arrived, which means in some areas stinging winds and frigid rains and sometimes snow are also on the horizon. Most of us wouldn't ever think of leaving the house without a jacket in freezing climates, but surprisingly, a lot of people don't think to put on their sunglasses. Although the sun isn't always our primary concern during times that we are bundling up against the bitter cold, the sun's rays are still shining down during the winter months, and in certain circumstances can be even more powerful.


If you frequent an area with snow, you should be extra careful. Particularly in the aftermath of a serious snow, the world around takes on a glistening glimmer due to the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house following a fresh snowfall. The UV sunlight that most of us are so careful in avoiding during the summertime can really be more dangerous in the winter months since it reflects off the snow or ice, resulting in a second exposure. This is the reason a good pair of sunglasses is a crucial part of your winter wardrobe.


Even though you want to feel great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure they are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication 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.) The good news is proper protection for your eyes doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive pair. Many of the more reasonably priced brands are made with full ultraviolet coverage.


Another important feature in selecting sun wear is the size of the frame. You will have the most protection when your glasses are large enough to completely guard your eyes and if possible the surrounding areas as well. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Glasses with side shield will also keep UV waves from sneaking in through the sides.


Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are essential to wear on the water since the water reflects the sun's rays, this also applies to wintery water as well. Therefore it is equally essential to wear sunglasses when out in the snow. Also ultraviolet exposure is more powerful at high altitudes, so if you plan to go skiing or snowboarding, take this into consideration.


It's important to be knowledgeable about suitable eye protection all year long. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.