Winter has officially arrived, which means in some parts of the country whipping winds and frigid rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. The majority of us would never even think of leaving the house without a coat in icy conditions, however surprisingly, many people don't think to put on their sunglasses. While the sun isn't always our first consideration during times that we are battling the bitter winter climate, the sun is still shining down in colder climates, and in many instances can be even stronger.
They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for nothing. Particularly after a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glimmer due to the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the earth. In fact, without sunglasses it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house following a fresh snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that we are all so careful to avoid during the summer months may really be more dangerous in the winter months due to the fact that it reflects off the snow or ice, resulting in a double dose of exposure. This is why good sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.
Even though it's important to look great in your shades, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Ensure 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.) The good news is proper protection for your eyes isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of affordable brands are made with full protection.
Another important factor in selecting sun wear is size. You want to make sure your glasses completely shield your eyes and the areas around them as well. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Glasses with side shield will also stop UV waves from sneaking in from the sides.
Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical water gear since the water reflects the sun's rays, this also applies to snow and ice. Therefore it is equally critical to put on sunglasses when out in wintery conditions. Further UV radiation is more powerful at greater elevations such as mountain ski slopes.
Be informed about the risks of UV damage to your eyes all year long. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.