Winter sports enthusiasts, listen up. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or just sledding with the kids, it’s important to protect your eyes and thereby your vision with the proper eyewear this winter. And even if you’re not what you’d call a “winter sports enthusiast,” winter eye protection is essential for you, too!
Reflections from the sun’s rays on snow or ice along with frigid temperatures can have serious effects on your eyes and could threaten your vision. Ultraviolet light from the sun is strongest in the winter between 10AM and 3PM, and even more powerful at higher altitudes (such as a ski slope) and the further south you are.
The Sun, Snow and Ice
It may be cloudy and snowing outside, but the sun can still do serious damage to your eyes. When there’s snow on the ground, your eyes are at even greater risk of sun damage. Did you know winter precipitation such as snow and ice reflects as much as 80 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays?
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause a painful eye condition called photokeratitis, also known as “snow blindness” (though you can still suffer the condition even if there isn’t snow on the ground). If you plan to hit the slopes this winter or spend time outside, be sure you have a pair of polarized polycarbonate sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. There are also versions specifically designed for winter sports. Ski goggles are your best option to protect your eyes from the glare, cold temperatures and wind. You can even get prescription ski goggles, if needed.
Going outside in freezing winter temperatures with your eyes unprotected can cause eye pain or blurred vision. If you are exposed to extreme cold, your corneas could actually freeze (rare, but possible!). While you can’t wrap your eyes up in a cozy scarf, wearing wraparound sunglasses or goggles will add an extra layer of protection from cold temperatures and harsh winter winds.
Don’t risk your vision this winter. Be sure you and your children have proper eye protection to prevent vision loss due to cold temperatures or UV exposure. The Key-Whitman Optical Center offers a variety of eyewear choices, including designer sunglasses. If you need sunglasses this winter, shop for the perfect shades in our Optical Center!