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Guarding Your Eyes Against Winter Sun Exposure

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Winter is officially here, which means in some parts of the country biting winds and cold precipitation aren't far behind. The majority of us would never even conceive of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in cooler conditions, however unfortunately, far too many people leave their sunglasses behind. While the sun may not be our first concern when we are bundling up against the frigid cold, the sun's rays are still in full force in colder climates, and in many instances can be even stronger.

On occasions that you live in or plan to visit a location with snow, it is wise to be extra careful. Particularly after a serious snow, the blanket of snow covering the world around you, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun's rays. In fact, for many it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house after a fresh snowfall. The ultraviolet sunlight that we are all so careful in protecting ourselves against during the summer can really be more hazardous during the winter months due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you a double dose of exposure. This is the reason a proper pair of sunglasses is a necessary part of your winter attire.

Even though it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they will properly do their job. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they are labeled UV 400 (this means they block all light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which includes both UVA and UVB rays.) Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to pay more for adequate coverage for your eyes. Many of the more inexpensive brands are made with full ultraviolet defense.

Another important consideration in choosing sun wear is the size of the frame. You want to make sure the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also keep harmful rays from sneaking in from the sides.

Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are essential to wear on the water since the water reflects sunlight, this also applies to wintery water as well. Therefore it is just as critical to put on sunglasses when out in wintery conditions. Additionally UV radiation is stronger at high elevations, so if you have plans to hit the slopes take this into consideration.

Make a point to be in the know about the risks of UV damage to your eyes throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your shades.