Winter is officially here, which means in some locations whipping winds and cold precipitation aren't far behind. You wouldn't ever contemplate of leaving the house without a coat in freezing conditions, however unfortunately, many people don't think to take their sunglasses. While many of us don't think about the shining sunshine when we are venturing out to the frigid cold, the sun's rays are still shining down during the winter months, and sometimes can be even stronger.
On occasions that you frequent an area with snow, you should be extra careful. In particular following a blizzard, the blanket of snow covering the ground, trees and everything else in sight, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, in many cases it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outside following a glistening snow. The ultraviolet radiation that we are all so vigilant in avoiding during the summer may really be more dangerous in the wintertime because it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a second exposure. This is the reason a good pair of sunglasses is a necessary part of your winter wardrobe.
Although it's important to feel great in your sunglasses, the most important consideration when choosing sunglasses is being certain they provide adequate protection against UV. Check that 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.) Don't worry, proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Many of the more reasonably priced options exist that still provide full UV coverage.
Another important consideration in selecting sun wear is size. You want to make sure the lenses 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 enter. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also keep UV waves from entering from the periphery.
Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical beach gear since the water intensifies sunlight, this is also true for wintery water as well. Consequently it is just as essential to put on sunglasses during times when you go out in wintery conditions. Additionally ultraviolet exposure is more forceful at high altitudes, so if you are skiing or snowboarding, take this into consideration.
This winter, stay warm and stay protected! Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.