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The Dangers of UV to Your Eyes – In the Winter

It's official! Winter is here, which means in some places bitter cold winds and frigid rain, snow and sleet are also on the horizon. Most of us wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in cooler conditions; nevertheless unfortunately, many people don't think to put on their sunglasses. Although the sun may not be our first concern during times that we are battling the bitter winter climate, the sun's rays are still shining down in colder climates, and sometimes can be even more powerful.

For times when you frequent an area with snow, it is wise to be extra careful. Especially after a blizzard, the blanket of snow covering the world around you actually magnifies the reflection of the sunlight. In fact, it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house following a fresh snowfall. The ultraviolet sunlight that many people are so vigilant in protecting ourselves against during the summertime can really be more hazardous during the colder season since it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is why sunglasses are a necessary part of your winter wardrobe.

While you want to pick a style you look good in, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is checking that they will properly protect your eyes. Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV light 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.) Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to pay more for adequate protection from UV. Dozens of inexpensive brands are made with total UV coverage.

Another important feature in choosing sun wear is lens size. You will have the most protection when your glasses are large enough to totally guard your eyes and if possible the surrounding areas as well. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to get past your sunglasses. Wrap around frames will also stop radiation from sneaking in from the sides.

For the skiers or snowboarders out there, you should know that the sun's radiation is stronger at higher elevations, so it's wise to be especially sure to keep your eyes protected on the hills. Another way to add extra protection is put on a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.

This wintertime, stay warm and stay protected! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.