It's official! Winter is here, which means in some parts of the country biting winds and frigid rains and sometimes snow aren't far behind. Most of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in icy conditions, but unfortunately, a lot of people don't think to wear sunglasses. While many of us don't think about the glaring sun when we are venturing out to the bitter winter climate, the sun is still in full force in colder climates, and sometimes can be even stronger.
They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Particularly after a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glimmer due to the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules blanketing the earth. In fact, in many cases it can hurt to open your eyes when you first step outside after a glistening snowfall. The ultraviolet sunlight that most of us are so careful to avoid in the summer can actually be more hazardous in the wintertime because it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a double dose of exposure. This is the reason sunglasses are a necessary winter accessory.
Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.
Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure 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. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.
If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.
Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.