Of course everybody thinks about wearing sunglasses during the summer because the sun is out and its hot. What a lot of people don’t know is that it is equally important to protect your eyes with sunglasses in the winter. Meaning even when the temperature is below freezing and the weather is overcast, invisible ultraviolet (UV) light is still able to pass through the clouds to your eyes and cause damage. It could be argued that since white winter snow is much more reflective than our surroundings in the summer, it might even be more important to protect your eyes when the temperature drops.
Exposure to ultraviolet light can make your eyes more prone to certain degenerative eye diseases such as: cataracts, glaucoma, periocular skin cancer and macular degeneration. We want to keep you safe this winter; so here are a few things you can do to protect your eyes from this type of harm.
Add sunglasses to your list of must-have winter accessories.
Similarly to your skin, your eyes need protection from ultraviolet radiation to prevent a condition known as “photokeratitis” which is basically a fancy way of describing sunburning of your eye’s cornea. This condition can cause burning, imitation, and loss of vision if not properly prevented.
Be conscious of other types of winter-specific damage
With cold dry winds roaring, sunglasses don’t only prevent damage from ultraviolet radiation, but they also protect your eyes from particles that can get blown into them. Whether you are plowing your driveway, or skiing the slopes, sunglasses or safety goggles can prevent foreign particles such as ice crystals from entering your eye and causing permanent damage.
Keep moisturizing eye drops handy
Because of the drop of temperature, you might notice that your eyes become drier or irritated in the cold season. This can also happen when warming up by the fireplace since furnaces and heaters also remove moisture from the air. Be sure to have lubricating eye drops in order to prevent your eyes from drying out.
Wear your sunglasses during your commute
A less obvious reason that sunglasses are a key winter accessory is because the sun sits lower in the sky during winter months. This leads to more direct exposure to ultraviolet light than in the summer months. Because the sun also sets earlier, this can be particularly problematic during your morning and evening commutes. By wearing a quality pair of polarized sunglasses you will be able to improve clarity and contrast while on the road while reducing glare.
Please consult an optometrist if you would like more direction when purchasing your pair of lenses, and keep your shades handy even on those cooler overcast days.
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