How To Protect Your Eyes In Winter
Although the colder temperatures can make the sun feel less intense during the winter time, eye protection from the sun is still very important to keep in mind. We experience a lot of cloudy and overcast days during the winter, however, UV light and glare can still be just as harmful as if the days were clear and sunny. UV radiation penetrates cloud layers, so protect your eyes even if you can’t see the sun.
During the winter months, the sun’s rays reflect off the snow and ice. These particular surfaces reflect more UV radiation than almost any other surface. This is an issue a lot of skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts face during their adventures. Because of snow’s reflective nature, up to 85% of the sun’s UV rays may be reflected upward as harmful glare. UV rays are a major contributor towards cataracts and other eye health problems. The UV reflection off snow can be so strong, that it can actually burn your eyes. This is known as photokeratitis or ‘snow blindness’ and it’s essentially sunburn on your eyes. Symptoms can appear in as little as 6 to 12 hours. They include watery eyes, redness, swollen eyelids, a gritty feeling, pain when looking at light, headaches and blurred or temporary loss of vision for up to 48 hours.
Tips to Protect Your Eyes in Winter
Although your eyes will heal from snow blindness over time, the best approach is to avoid prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Some tips on how to protect your eyes during the winter time:
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100% of UV radiation.
- Aim for glasses with a wrap around frames so no light can shine in through the sides of your glasses. Look for lenses with a yellow or brown tint. At Vigor, all of our frames are wrap around frames and each frame has a yellow or brown option for the lens. So feel free to take on winter in style, whether you’re hitting the slopes or simply taking a walk, Vigor has your back when it comes to keeping your eyes protected from the sun.
- Ask your eye doctor about lenses that can help reduce glare when skiing. Lenses can be tinted in a range of colors to decrease various wavelengths of light that can cause harmful glare.