It's official! Winter is here, which means in some places bitter cold winds and cold rain, snow and sleet are also in the forecast. You wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in overcast weather, but unfortunately, many people leave their sunglasses at home. Although the sun isn't always our primary consideration during times that we are battling the bitter cold, the sun is still a present danger during the winter months, and sometimes can be even stronger.
They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Particularly following a snow storm, the blanket of snow covering the world around you, actually magnifies the reflection of the sun's rays. In fact, for many it can hurt to open your eyes when you first step outside following a heavy snow. The UV sunlight that many of us are so vigilant in avoiding during the summertime can actually be more hazardous during the winter months because it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a double dose of exposure. This is the reason good sunglasses are a necessary winter accessory.
Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is being certain they provide adequate protection against UV. Be sure the lenses 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 pay more for complete coverage for your eyes. Many of the more affordable brands are made with complete protection.
Another important feature in picking the right sun wear is the size of the frame. You want to make sure the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Glasses with side shield will also keep radiation from entering from the sides.
Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are critical water gear because the water intensifies sunlight, this is also true for snow and ice. Therefore it is equally critical to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in the snow. Additionally ultraviolet radiation is more forceful at high elevations, so if you plan to go skiing or snowboarding have this in mind.
This wintertime, keep warm and stay protected! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.