Wearing your sunglasses in the winter is just as important for eye health as wearing them in the summer. The Inuit people of the arctic knew just how important it was to protect their eyes from the damaging sun’s rays and snow glare. It was so important that they fashioned snow goggles from bone, ivory, wood, or even caribou antlers to protect their eyes. Snow blindness was, and continues to be, a serious threat to eye health during the winter.
The sun’s rays are just as intense and damaging during the winter as they are during the summer. Glare can be even more intense and disruptive during the winter because of snow glare. Snow can reflect between 80 – 85% of the sun’s rays, so if you spend extended periods of time outside during the winter, especially driving or doing winter sports, wearing premium quality lenses with 100% UVA/UVB protection are a must.
In the long term, prolonged exposure to sunlight at any time of the year increases your chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. In the short term, spending a day in the winter sun can lead to a condition called Photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness or flash burn. The condition is essentially a sunburn of the cornea, and is caused by prolonged hours in the sun without eye protection. Skiers are commonly afflicted with the condition because ultraviolet radiation increases at higher altitudes.
Sunglasses for general use during the winter has many other benefits. For example, many people suffer from dry eyes during the winter. This condition occurs when not enough tears are being produced to keep the eyes lubricated and comfortable. As you can guess, sunglasses can help with this condition because reduced sunlight helps the eyes avoid wasting any moisture.
Randolph Engineering carries the perfect type of lens for the winter months. Our gradient lite lenses are designed to provide protection from the sun overhead while keeping your vision clear below. Our recently released Aviator Gradient Lite Lenses are the perfect combination of fashion and function.
Additionally, sunglasses are a great fashion accessory year-round. If there was ever a rule about not wearing your shades after September, it surely no longer exists. Wearing your sunglasses year round is not only healthy, but makes you look great too!