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The Winter Sun and Your Eyes

Winter has officially arrived, which means in some places stinging winds and frigid rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. The majority of us wouldn't ever think of leaving the house without a coat in cooler climates, however surprisingly, many people leave their sunglasses at home. While the sun may not be our first consideration when we are venturing out to the bitter winter climate, the sun's rays are still shining down during the winter months, and in certain circumstances can be even stronger.

For times when you frequent a location with snow, you should be extra cautious. Particularly in the aftermath of a blizzard, the blanket of snow covering the world around you, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, it can be painful to open your eyes when you first step outside following a heavy snow. The ultraviolet radiation that most of us are so vigilant to avoid in the heat of the summer can actually be more dangerous in the winter months because it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is the reason proper sunglasses are a crucial part of your winter wardrobe.

While it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when choosing sunglasses is making sure they will properly do their job. Make sure they are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Many of the more reasonably priced options exist that still provide total coverage.

Another important factor in choosing sun wear is lens size. You want to make sure the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to enter. Wrap around frames will also keep UV waves from entering from the sides.

Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical beach gear since the water reflects sunlight, this is also true for snow and ice. Therefore it is just as essential to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in wintery conditions. Also ultraviolet radiation is more forceful at high altitudes, so if you plan to go skiing or snowboarding, take this into consideration.

Make a point to be informed about adequate eye protection all year round. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.