By Annie – November 06, 2020
It’s a common myth that you don’t need to protect your eyes in the winter because it’s no longer warm out. Harmful UV rays still exist in the winter and it’s just as important as it is in any other season to protect your eyes from them.
In addition, winter glare that can come from the snow and the ice on the ground adds an extra element that you need to ensure you’re protected from.
Keep reading for more information about shielding your eyes from harmful winter glare.
What is Winter Glare and How Can it Affect You?
According to an article in the New York Times, spending a day in the snow can actually be harder on your eyes than a day at the beach. This article reports that snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun’s rays which means more harmful ultraviolet rays are directed into your eyes.
Hours of bright sunlight can burn the surface of the eye and cause a temporary but painful condition known as photokeratitis, regardless of the season. In addition, exposing the eyes to sunlight without protection can lead to a greater risk of cataracts, as well as cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes.
It’s imperative to protect your eyes in the winter, as UV exposure also may increase the risk of macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65. Cataracts can be removed surgically but there is no way to reverse damage to the macula, the area in the center of the retina.
Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Winter Glare
Be sure to use the same sunglasses in the winter as you do in the summer, since UV rays are just as strong. It’s important that your sunglasses block UV rays, so look for these kinds if you do not have any.
Another great way to block UV rays is by wearing a large brimmed hat when you go out in the sun. This will keep the rays away from your face altogether, so you don’t have to worry about them getting into your eyes.
Wearing a scarf around your head can also block harmful UV rays, while simultaneously blocking out any harmful debris that the winter wind can kick up. This can also be dangerous for your eyes and could result in corneal abrasions or other bacterial infections.
If you participate in any winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling, you’ll need to protect your eyes during these activities as well. Goggles that are polarized and keep UV rays out will protect your eyes from the sun and winter glare, while also keeping them safe from anything that could potentially get in the eye.
Remember these tips this winter and your eyes should be in good health. For more eye health information, visit our website.