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Guarding Your Eyes Against Winter Ultraviolet Exposure

Winter has officially arrived, which means in some parts of the country whipping winds and freezing rain, snow and sleet are also in the forecast. Most of us would never even think of leaving the house without a jacket in icy conditions, however surprisingly, a lot of people don't think to wear sunglasses. While the sun isn't always our first concern when we are venturing out to the freezing cold, the sun's rays are still in full force during the winter months, and sometimes can be even more powerful.

They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Especially following a serious snow fall, the blanket of snow covering the ground, trees and everything else in sight, actually intensifies the reflection of the sun. In fact, it can be painful to open your eyes when you first leave the house following a heavy snowfall. The UV radiation that most people are so careful about during the heat of the summer can really be more hazardous during the winter months since it reflects off the snow or ice, giving you a second exposure. This is the reason proper sunglasses are an essential winter accessory.

While you want to feel great in your sunglasses, the most important part of selecting sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Ensure 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.) The good news is you don't necessarily have to purchase designer glasses for adequate protection from the sun. Many of the more inexpensive options exist that still provide full ultraviolet defense.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when your glasses are large enough to totally guard your eyes and if possible the areas around them as well. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful radiation will be able to get past your sunglasses. Glasses with side shield will also keep harmful rays from sneaking in through the periphery.

Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are essential water gear because the water intensifies the sun's rays, this is also true for wintery water as well. Consequently it is just as essential to put on sunglasses when out in wintery conditions. Also ultraviolet exposure is stronger at greater elevations such as mountain ski slopes.

Make a point to be informed about suitable eye protection throughout the year. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.

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