Blog > Sunglasses aren’t just for Summer!

January 25, 2015 by Michelle May, OD, FCOVD

Sunglass aren’t just for Summer

Think sunglasses aren’t necessary in the winter? Think again! Just because temperatures drop in the winter doesn’t mean the sun is any less dangerous. In fact, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed at higher altitudes where the sun’s harmful UV effects are actually stronger. In addition, up to 80 percent of UV radiation is reflected back at you from the snowy ground. There is even a form of “snow blindness,” where prolonged exposure to the sun without proper UV protection causes painful damage to the surface of the eyes and even temporary vision loss. Other short- and long-term effects of unprotected UV exposure include:

  • Early onset cataracts

  • Macular degeneration

  • Pinguecula and Pterygium (fleshy growths on the white part of your eye)

Much of the damage caused to the eyes by UV exposure is cumulative; what that means is even kids should be wearing sunglasses outside, every day. UV protection for your eyes should be something you think about year-round; even on those overcast days (of which winter has plenty!), a significant amount of UV still gets through the cloud cover. The best kinds of sunglasses to wear are those that provide broad-spectrum UV protection with a shape that wraps around your head. In addition, polarized lenses help cut back significantly on glare and reflections - great for when you’re out on a snowy day!

For more information on how UV can affect your eyes, visit: