It's official! Winter is here, which means in some areas whipping winds and cold rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. Most of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a jacket in icy conditions, however surprisingly, a lot of people leave their sunglasses at home. Although many of us aren't thinking about the shining sun during times that we are bundling up against the freezing winter climate, the sun's rays are still shining down in colder climates, and in certain circumstances can be even more powerful.
They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Particularly following a heavy snow, the blanket of snow covering the ground, trees and everything else in sight, actually magnifies the reflection of the sun's rays. In fact, in many cases it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outdoors after a heavy snow. The ultraviolet exposure that most people are so careful in protecting ourselves against in the summer can actually be more hazardous in the winter because it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a second exposure. This is why sunglasses are a necessary winter accessory.
Even though you want to look great in your sunglasses, the most important consideration when deciding upon a pair of sunglasses is checking that they will properly do their job. Check that they 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 you don't necessarily have to purchase designer glasses for full protection for your eyes. Many of the more reasonably priced brands are made with full UV defense.
Another important consideration in picking the right sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to get past your sunglasses. Wrap around frames will also keep UV waves from entering through the sides.
Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical beach gear because the water intensifies ultraviolet radiation, this is also true for wintery water as well. Consequently it is equally important to put on sunglasses during times when you go out in wintery conditions. Additionally ultraviolet radiation is more powerful at greater elevations such as mountain ski slopes.
It's important to be in the know about proper eye protection throughout the year. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.