It's official! Winter is here, which means in some locations stinging winds and freezing rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. You would never even conceive of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in cooler conditions, but surprisingly, far too many people leave their sunglasses at home. Although the sun isn't always our first consideration when we are venturing out to the freezing cold, the sun is still in full force in colder climates, and in many instances can be even stronger.
If you find yourself snowed in, you should be extra cautious. In particular following a blizzard, the blanket of snow covering the world around you, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, in many cases it can be painful to open your eyes when you first step outdoors after a fresh snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that many people are so vigilant about in the summertime can really be more hazardous in the winter due to the fact that it reflects off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is why a good pair of sunglasses is a crucial winter accessory.
Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when deciding upon a pair of sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Ensure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by checking 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, you don't necessarily have to pay more for full protection for your eyes. Dozens of affordable options exist that still provide complete ultraviolet protection.
Another important consideration in selecting sun wear is lens size. You will have the most protection when your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful UV rays will be able to get past your sunglasses. Wrap around frames will also prevent radiation from entering from the periphery.
If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, it’s important to know that the sun's rays are more powerful at higher elevations, so be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the ski slope. For additional protection put on a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.
This wintertime, keep warm and stay protected! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.