Sunglasses in the Winter: Why You Should Wear Your Shades

For many people when you think of sunglasses you automatically think of summer. It’s like peanut butter and jelly, or fireworks and the Fourth of July But sunglasses in the winter are just as important. 

But sunglasses during winter are just as important as it is during summer. Wearing sunglasses in the winter and basically all throughout the year helps to prevent the harmful and powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays from damaging your eyes. Unfortunately the UV light isn’t just a summer thing and there are instances during the winter that the UV rays are actually stronger than summer sun due to the reflection off of the snow and ice, which makes wearing eye protection just as important in the winter as it is in summer. 

So whether you’re driving and need protection from the sun reflecting off of the snow or keeping your eyes from going dry when skiing down a mountain wearing sunglasses will do this and so much more.  

Let’s look at what you should consider when purchasing the best sunglasses for winter:

Do people wear sunglasses in the winter?

Yes, plenty of people wear sunglasses in winter season. The uses of sunglasses go far beyond wearing them for style alone, although it’s the finishing touch to your outdoor winter outfit. 

There are many reasons why you would want to wear sunglasses in the winter - cold weather eye protection, and snow glare sunglasses.  There is one that is the most common reason and a very important one. The right sunglasses will prevent sun glare from impairing your vision. Sun glare makes enjoying outside activities such as snowboarding, skiing, or driving more difficult and in some conditions dangerous. 

Snowboarding down the mountain without a good pair of sunglasses can be dangerous - from the glare impairing your visibility to the wind drying out your eyes. 

Plus during the winter the sun’s rays are still strong. They may not feel as strong because the sun sits lower in the sky than it does during summer, but UV rays can still damage your eyes. 

Why are sunglasses important in the winter?

Wearing sunglasses in the winter will keep your eyes from drying out in windy conditions. They shield your eyes by reducing the amount of wind that gets directly into them.  And if you wear contacts you know how the wind can quickly dry out your contacts. This is both uncomfortable and makes seeing clearly difficult. Plus, on windy days sunglasses will prevent particles from getting in your eyes.

Reasons to wear glasses during winter

Looking for more reasons why you should wear sunglasses during the winter months. Here are two of the main reasons people will wear them,

Reflecting The Light

No matter what season it is the ultraviolet rays from the sun will always be dangerous to your eyes. And when you are near water, snow or ice, or at higher altitudes, the amount of UV rays will increase. This increases the risk of damage to your cornea

This is why wearing glasses isn’t just limited to the summer. The longer you spend outside without eye protection the higher your risk of developing certain eye diseases. 

For Style 

Wearing your shades will complete any winter outfit. There’s no denying that sunglasses are a must-have accessory to add style while offering you the vital eye protection that you need.  

What happens if you don't wear sunglasses during winter?

Think winter eye protection, because that’s what wearing sunglasses is. Here are some of the eye conditions that you are at risk for during the winter months if you are not wearing sunglasses: 

Photokeratitis - This is known as snow blindness. This painful condition also causes temporary vision loss and is the result of overexposure to the sun’s UV rays.  This is basically sunburn on your corneas.

The sun's rays reflect up to 80% off of the snow and this increases your risk of photokeratitis during the winter. So if you enjoy spending time skiing, snowboarding, or other snow-related activities it’s essential that you wear sunglasses with the proper UV protection to prevent the risk of photokeratitis. 

Dry Eyes - The cold, harsh weather during the winter can cause your eyes to become dry, red, and inflamed. Many people experience dry eyes because there is less moisture in the air. Dry eyes can cause blurred vision. 

Excessive Tearing - The cold air and harsh winds can lead to excess tearing or watery eyes. Your eyes' natural prevention from these types of conditions is to lubricate themselves.

Is snow blindness permanent?

No, snow blindness is not permanent. Just as you get sunburned on your skin after a day it will go away. This is similar to being sunburned on your eyes. The symptoms will generally begin improving within 24-48 hours.

Best sunglasses for winter

Just like for the summer, the best sunglasses for winter should protect your eyes with 100% UV protection. Choosing sunglasses that are labeled UV 400 will provide you with this level of protection.  But taking it one step further with a polarized lens will help to reduce glare that is reflected off of snow and ice if you plan on enjoying snow-related activities. 

Or consider wearing oversized wrap-around sunglasses that will protect the sides of your eyes and peripheral vision from both wind and glare.

Here are some other things you may want to consider when buying sunglasses for the winter, 

Polarized or Non-Polarized

Depending on what you will be doing when wearing your sunglasses should help you to determine whether or not you should buy polarized lenses or not.  Do you intend on spending a lot of time outdoors? If so then buying sunglasses that have polarized lenses will be beneficial to further protecting your eyes. If you’re looking for sunglasses for snow glare then polarized sunglasses are the best way to go. If you're going for style then non-polarized lenses would not be your best option. 

Lens Shape / Size

The shape and size of your sunglasses aren’t just about style. The larger your sunglasses are the better protection you’ll have due to the glare from ice and snow that make seeing at various angles difficult. So whether you are skiing, hiking up a mountain, or commuting to work the size of your lens matters when it comes to protecting your eyes. Aviators and wraparound styles are a great shape for winter sunglasses and help to prevent reflections from the ice and snow with their great coverage. 

Lens Color and Tint

Tinted lenses look awesome, but they also serve a purpose. There are different tints to choose from with different strengths. Understanding the various tints will help you to choose the right one for you.  On bright days wearing sunglasses with gray, green, or brown tinted lenses will offer you reduced glare and offer you the purest color perception. Yellow tinted lenses are the best option for winter and best for snow-related activities because of their ability to reflect the sun's glare.

What color sunglasses are best for glare?

Polarized sunglasses are by far one of the best sunglasses for the winter especially if you are going to be enjoying outdoor activities. They are able to reduce glare and improve your visibility. Just be sure that they are providing UV 400 protection for optimal eye protection. 

If you prefer non-polarized sunglasses, choosing a yellow tint will be extremely beneficial for eye comfort and visibility on a bright day.

Where can I buy sunglasses in winter?

There are plenty of places that you can purchase sunglasses from in the winter. At ShadyVEU we offer a huge selection of winter glasses for snow glare protection, snow driving glasses, or a pair of shades that will go perfectly with that new snow jacket you just purchased.


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