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Last Updated on June 19, 2023
Sunglasses are often associated with summer, beach trips, and swimming parties. As such, you may be among the people who only wear sunglasses during the sunniest season of the year. While News4JAX reports that the sun’s UV levels are three times greater in summer than in winter, it doesn’t mean that the winter sun doesn’t cause any damage—especially to your eyes. You’re still at risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and ocular melanoma.
If you want to learn more about the importance of wearing sunglasses in winter and what to look for in sunglasses, keep reading below.
Why Wear Sunglasses in the Winter?
Apart from the aforementioned eye health risks, you’re prone to snow blindness—also called photokeratitis—during the winter. Medical News Today explains that this happens when the sun’s UV rays reflect off ice or snow. It results in a damaged cornea and conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane that protects your eye. Snow blindness is more common among those who ski, go snowmobiling, or hike during the winter. Even if you don’t participate in such activities, you can still get snow blindness if you spend a lot of time outdoors in snowy areas.
Although this condition is temporary, constant exposure to UV rays can result in the eye disorders mentioned above: cataract formation, macular degeneration, and more—which may lead to permanent vision loss. Furthermore, it can also cause skin cancer of the eyelids and the other tissues in your eye area.
Given these, it’s vital to wear sunglasses during the winter. Here’s what to look for in the perfect pair:
What to Look for in Winter Sunglasses
Because you’re still exposed to the sun in the winter, and UV rays reflect on snowy grounds, it’s best to invest in sunglasses with polarized lenses. These reduce glare, eyestrain, and the harmful effects of sun exposure on your eyes. The majority of Oakley’s sunglasses have polarized lenses, effectively shielding your eyes from the sun. They block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, and you even have the option to fit them according to your light sensitivity. Their lenses also eliminate glare from flat surfaces, including snow, allowing your pupils to relax for better vision. They’re also designed for active wear, so you can easily use them for winter sports without worrying about their durability.
Wear these sunglasses whenever you go out during winter—and, more importantly, when there’s fresh snow. This is because fresh snow is a good reflector, doubling your UV exposure and intensifying its consequence on your eye health.
In addition to polarized lenses, consider getting blue-tinted lenses on your sunglasses. This color has a calming effect on your eyes and helps lessen eye strain, allowing you to wear your sunglasses for a longer period of time. Additionally, they’re ideal for winter because they’re excellent at reducing glare during icy and snowy conditions. Warby Parker, one of the biggest eyewear companies in the world, produces stylish sunglasses with blue-tinted lenses. If you’re unsure how blue lenses look with your complexion, you can virtually try on their frames using their app.
Blue-tinted lenses are great for everyday wear. Despite this, they’re more suitable for people who enjoy outdoor winter activities like skiing and those who spend time in low-visibility conditions, such as snowfall, mist, or fog.
Wearing sunglasses in the winter is a must. This will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun and its reflection on the snow, preventing serious eye conditions that can lead to permanent vision loss.
For more winter advice, do read our article 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Health Once the Winter Traps You Inside. And if you are interested in looking after your body throughout the year, do check out our Health posts.