Since next week is the official start of winter here in the U.S., I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the necessity of wearing sunglasses – whether Matrix sunglasses or some other type – during this season. Obviously most people associate wearing sunglasses with the warm weather months, but wearing them when it’s cold outside is just as important. There are a few important reasons for this.
First off, the harmful UV rays of the sun during the winter months can be just as damaging to your eyes as the UV rays during the summer months. In either case, overexposure can cause macular degeneration and cataracts, both of which can ultimately lead to blindness. Yes there are fewer hours of daylight during winter, and the sun’s heat is obviously not nearly as intense, but this has little to do with the intensity of the UV rays. No matter what the season, if you do not wear sunglasses outside during peak daylight hours, you are putting the health of your eyes at risk.
Additionally, certain activities that occur during the winter months can exasperate the risk. Activities such as skiing and snowmobiling are harmful because the UV rays of the sun reflect off of the snow covered surfaces. In fact, approximately 80% of the UV rays of the sun can bounce off of a snow or ice covered surface, which essentially doubles your exposure. This is commonly known as “snow blindness.” Additionally, high-altitude activities like skiing can exasperate the problem even further, because the higher up you go the more exposure you’ll be subjected to. In fact, the intensity of UV rays increases roughly 16% for every thousand meters above sea level you go.
Therefore, you must always wear sunglasses offering 100% protection from the UV rays of the sun even in the winter. Additionally, if you do a lot of skiing or snowboarding, you ought to consider sunglasses with polarized lenses, which help diffuse the impact of reflective light. You might also wish to consider impact-resistant lenses for highly intense winter activities.
I hope you can now appreciate why sunglasses are just as important in the winter as they are in the summer. In fact, if you like to participate in winter sports, wearing sunglasses might even be more important than wearing them in the summer. So do yourself a favor and always wear sunglasses outside on sunny days no matter what time of the year it is. And of course, have fun!