Winter is officially here, which means in some places bitter cold winds and cold precipitation aren't far behind. Most of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in overcast conditions, however surprisingly, many people don't think to put on their sunglasses. Although the sun may not be our primary concern during times that we are battling the frigid cold, the sun is still a present danger in colder climates, and sometimes can be even more powerful.
They don't call it a "winter wonderland" for no reason. Especially following a snow storm, the world around takes on a sparkling glimmer due to the sun's rays reflecting off of the water molecules blanketing the earth. In fact, without sunglasses it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outside after a fresh snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that many people are so careful in protecting ourselves against during the heat of the summer may really be more dangerous during the winter because it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a double dose of exposure. This is the reason a proper pair of sunglasses is an essential winter accessory.
While it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important part of selecting sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by checking for confirmation that they block all light up to 400 nanometers – UV400. Don't worry, proper sun protection doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive pair. Many of the more affordable brands are made with complete ultraviolet coverage.
Another important factor in choosing sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to get past your sunglasses. Glasses with side shield will also stop harmful rays from sneaking in from the periphery.
If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, it’s important to know that ultraviolet rays are more powerful at peak heights, so it's wise to be even more sure to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.
This wintertime, stay warm and keep your eyes safe! Don't leave home without your shades.