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The Winter Sun and Your Eyes

Winter is officially here, which means in some areas biting winds and frigid rains and sometimes snow aren't far behind. You would never even contemplate of leaving the house without a coat in overcast weather, however unfortunately, many people don't think to take their sunglasses. Although many of us don't think about the glaring sun during times that we are bundling up against the freezing cold, the sun's rays are still a present danger in colder climates, and in certain circumstances can be even stronger.

For times when you find yourself snowed in, you should be even more careful. Particularly after a snow storm, the world around takes on a glistening glimmer as a result of the sunlight reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, without sunglasses it can be painful to open your eyes when you first step outdoors following a heavy snowfall. The ultraviolet radiation that we are all so vigilant to avoid during the summer may actually be more hazardous in the colder season due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is why sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.

While you want to look great in your sunglasses, the most important part of selecting sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure the lenses 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.) Don't worry, proper sun protection doesn't have to cost a lot. Dozens of inexpensive options exist that still provide full defense.

Another important consideration in picking the right sun wear is the size of the lenses. You will have the most protection when your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Glasses with side shield will also keep harmful rays from entering from the sides.

Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical to wear on the water because the water reflects sunlight, this also applies to wintery water as well. Therefore it is just as critical to put on sunglasses during times when you go out skiing, ice skating or even taking a walk on a snowy day. Additionally UV exposure is more forceful at greater altitudes such as mountain ski slopes.

It's important to be informed about the risks of UV damage to your eyes throughout the year. Don't leave home without your shades.