Even though you’re not lounging at the beach or taking in a baseball game in February, your eyes still need protection from the harsh rays of the sun. UVA and UVB rays are still a threat to your eye health. UV rays can come to us directly from the sun, scattered through the open sky, or they can be reflected off surrounding environments. Snow reflects 80% of UV rays back to our eyes.
While most people know it is important to protect our eyes from UV rays, almost half of us don’t wear sunglasses because we simply forget. Sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles, age spots and medical issues. Too much UV exposure can put you at risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, retina damage and ocular cancer.
UV damage is cumulative. We start the damage early in our lives often as children, and it gets gradually worse over time. Damage can not be reversed, but starting to wear sunglasses now will help.
Sunglasses with 100% UV blocking can help prevent those issues as well as prevent wind damage and reduce bright glare. Snow-blindness (photokeratitis) is another condition that can occur when you spend too much time outside in winter. Conditions can include redness, puffiness around the eyes, burning, watering and sensitivity to light.
There are many options when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun during the winter months: prescription sunglasses, clip-on lenses and photochromic (Transitions®) lenses that change color when you go from inside to outside. If you’d like to stick with clear lenses, Trivex lenses can help shield your eyes from UV rays. If you enjoy winter sports, your eye doctor might recommend wrap-around sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
Don’t forget eye protection for your kids. Because children’s eyes are extremely sensitive to UV rays, now is the perfect time to get them in the habit of wearing protective eyewear when they go outside every day.
Ask your doctor what is right for you. Your EyeCare Specialties optometrist will have some great suggestions and continually monitor your eyes to make sure they are as healthy as can be.