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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.

Thank you for trusting your eyecare with us over the years.  The Foresight Eyecare team follows the government mandate to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After December 2020 announcements made by the Alberta Government, our clinic is following the revised Infection Prevention and Control policy by the Alberta College of Optometrists.

Patients interested in obtaining eye exam services or eye care products can be seen by appointment only.  Please call ahead, and staff will arrange an appointment time and ask COVID-19 screening questions.  If you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, we ask that you call or e-mail us and do not attend the clinic for your scheduled visit.   Within the clinic, please wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer at reception.  Our clinic complies with the City of Calgary bylaw requiring mask covering over the age of two years old.  For patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the patient can be scheduled for an appointment at a time when minimal number of other patients are in the clinic such as at the beginning or end of the day to ensure appropriate physical distancing requirements.

We are using disposable disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and devices such as front desk counters, chairs, handles in exam rooms and waiting room.  All eyewear that have been touched by patients are continually being sanitized.   Any toys and magazines are stored at this time.  Examination areas are being sanitized with hospital grade disinfectant.  Debit and credit cards but NO CASH payments will be accepted.

COVID-19 symptoms are not always obvious.  We want to fend off this pandemic and minimize risk to our patients and the Foresight staff as front line health workers.   Contact that is closer than 2 m (6 feet) is to be avoided, with barriers in place when this cannot be avoided. We choose to continue to do our work and cautiously take care of our patients with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience.   It is a challenging and new experience for many of us, so let‘s support each other and prevent virus spread!  Beyond 2020, our focus is on take care of you and keeping Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts.   For more information, please refer to the following web pages or phone Health Link 811.

Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, Andrew Chan