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Why It’s Important to Wear Sunglasses, Even In The Winter!

Designer Sunglasses in West Orange

Designer Sunglasses in West Orange

Sunglasses are sometimes considered a summer-only accessory. The truth is that high-quality sunglasses are an essential component of keeping your eyes healthy all year round. In fact,  certain factors make winter an even more important time to sport your sunnies. Below we’ll explain why.

Why Wear Sunglasses This Winter?

Shield Your Eyes From Damaging UV Rays

Over time, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of light can damage your eyes due to repeated and prolonged exposure. Studies have shown that excessive UV light exposure raises your risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts, eye cancers, macular degeneration, and growths on or around the eye. High exposure to intense levels of UV rays can also harm the eye’s cornea and lens.

While this is true year-round, the cold winter months can also pose a higher risk of increased UV exposure due to the wet and icy weather. Surfaces like water, snow, and ice can reflect up to 95% of UV radiation back into your eyes!

That’s why it’s important for both adults and children to wear high-quality sunglasses with 100% UV blocking lenses whenever they venture outdoors, especially if for extended times or over the middle part of the day. Rain or shine, sunny or cloudy weather — sunglasses are essential because up to 80% of UV light can pass through clouds.

Eye protection is especially important if you do outdoor winter sports. People who spend time in the snow or ice or on the water are especially prone to photokeratitis, a condition where overexposure to UV rays damages the cornea. Photokeratitis is especially common in high altitudes, where the air is thinner and therefore UV rays arrive at your eyes with a greater level of intensity..

Snow blindness is a form of photokeratitis and is common among snowboarders and skiers. Symptoms of snow blindness can include eye pain, swollen and red eyes, blurred vision, headache, and sensitivity to light. If the eyes are no longer subjected to any UV exposure, this condition can heal on its own within 48 hours, just as an ordinary sunburn would, but occasionally might require treatment from an eye doctor.

The good news is that snow blindness is preventable! Before you hit the slopes, make sure to get yourself a top-quality pair of sunglasses or UV-protected sports goggles to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

How You Can Protect Your Eyes This Winter

Invest in a high-quality pair of 100% UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses to wear whenever outdoors. Not only will they shield your eyes from UV light, but they’ll also act as a barrier between winter’s cold winds and your eyes.

Apart from wearing protective sunglasses, other things you can do to keep your eyes happy and healthy in the colder months include:

  • Using lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes sufficiently hydrated
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to offer added protection from sunlight and glare
  • Practicing good hygiene to avoid eye infections (pink eye tends to be more common in the winter)

If your eyes are giving you trouble this winter, we can help. To learn more or to schedule your comprehensive eye exam, contact Dr. Alan Schlussel in West Orange today.

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