Skip to main content

For after hours emergencies, call 205-240-0700.

Home » What's New » Winter Ultraviolet Exposure and Your Eyes

Winter Ultraviolet Exposure and Your Eyes

Winter has officially arrived, which means in some parts of the country stinging winds and freezing rains and sometimes snow are also on their way. You would never even conceive of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in freezing conditions, but surprisingly, far too many people leave their sunglasses behind. While many of us don't think about the shining sun during times that we are venturing out to the frigid winter climate, the sun is still shining down during the winter months, and in many instances can be even stronger.

They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Particularly following a serious snow fall, the world around takes on a glistening glow, due to the sunlight reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, it can be painful to open your eyes when you first leave the house after a glistening snow. The ultraviolet sunlight that most people are so careful in avoiding in the heat of the summer may actually be more hazardous during the colder season due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a double dose of exposure. This is the reason a sturdy pair of sunglasses is a necessary winter accessory.

Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they will properly protect your eyes. Ensure they are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication 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 proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of affordable brands are made with complete UV protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is lens size. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Glasses with side shield will also prevent radiation from sneaking in from the sides.

For the skiers or snowboarders out there, you should be aware that UV radiation is more powerful at peak heights, so you need to be especially cautious to protect your eyes on the hills. Another way to add extra protection is add on a protective hat with a wide brim or visor.

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