Bard Optical

Sunglasses in Winter: Why Snow and Sun Don’t Mix

Most of us are likely guilty of failing to wear our sunglasses in the wintertime. Sunglasses are often associated with the summer months, where we spend copious amounts of time outdoors. In the winter, it gets dark outside early and the days are short, so why do we need sunglasses if we are spending less time exposed to the sun?

We have all been told that staring into the sun is bad for our eye health, but what about staring into the sun’s reflection? When it snows and we have a cold but sunny day, the light instead reflects off of the ice and snow that line the streets and cover the fields. The sun’s rays are not being absorbed the way they normally would in a grassy field or an asphalt road. It looks beautiful, even on a cloudy day. But once the sun comes out, you should strongly consider throwing on some shades.

Staring at the sun for too long can cause issues like retinal burns. This happens with looking at the sun for too long (or its general brightness). Essentially, the eyeball is sunburnt, similar to how skin is. It’s uncomfortable and temporary, but still a definite disadvantage to not wearing proper eye protection.

Cataracts is also a common eye disease that occurs from intense sun exposure. While it is frequently found in older generations, it starts with a young person’s dissent for wearing sunglasses. Of course, your parents were right when they told you that staring at the sun too long can cause blindness. While this is a highly prolonged process, refusing to wear sunglasses in the winter still fosters poor vision.

The winter is generally a time of year when the wind picks up and, depending on where you live, can gust without warning. While it may not seem like it, sunglasses (or general prescription glasses) can protect your eyes from the wind as well. They are a shield against debris, and they prevent your eyes from drying out as frequently. If you wear contacts, sunglasses are still essential since they provide the outside barrier to the eyes that you would not otherwise have.

While wearing sunglasses in the winter may seem silly, it is wholly necessary to protect your eyes from UV rays. After all, the cold doesn’t prevent the rays from reaching Earth. If anything, sunglasses should be more frequently worn in the winter, especially when there is snow and ice. The sun’s rays hit at a different angle in the wintertime due to the Earth’s axial position, making it even more necessary to put on shades.

So, if you refused to wear sunglasses before, this should have provided some helpful insight as to why it may be time to change your habits!

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