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The Dangers of UV to Your Eyes – In the Winter

It's official! Winter is here, which means in some locations biting winds and cold rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. Most of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a jacket in icy climates, but unfortunately, far too many people leave their sunglasses at home. Although many of us don't think about the shining sun during times that we are venturing out to the frigid winter climate, the sun is still a present danger in colder climates, and in many instances can be even more powerful.

If you find yourself snowed in, it is wise to be even more careful. Especially after a blizzard, 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 heavy snow. The ultraviolet exposure that most people are so careful to avoid during the summertime may actually be more hazardous during the colder season because it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a double dose of exposure. This is the reason proper sunglasses are an essential part of your winter attire.

Although you want to pick a style you look good in, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is being certain they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays 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 for complete protection for your eyes. Many of the more affordable brands are made with full UV coverage.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when your glasses completely cover your eyes and the surrounding areas. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to get past your sunglasses. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also keep UV waves from sneaking in from the periphery.

Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are critical to wear at the beach since the water intensifies UV radiation, this is also true for snow and ice. Consequently it is equally critical to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in wintery conditions. Further UV exposure is more powerful at high elevations, so if you are skiing or snowboarding, keep this in mind.

It's important to be knowledgeable about the risks of UV damage to your eyes throughout the year. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.