The Importance of Winter Eye Protection

The Importance of Winter Eye Protection

It’s basically second nature for most of us to protect our eyes in the bright summer months. But we can’t forget our sunscreen to protect our skin in the winter, we tend to forget the eye protection as well.

A girl is wearing eyeglasses for snow

While overcast skies, snow and shorter days can make it seem like there’s not as much sun and UV rays to protect ourselves from, that’s not the case. In fact, you can be more at risk of damage from the sun in the winter months.

Why is Winter so Hard on Our Eyes?

A girl with eye protection for snow

While you’re out enjoying a day on the slopes have you ever noticed how intense the sun can be when it bounces off the pure white of all that snow? Turns out snow is a top-notch reflector for sunlight. It can reflect up to 80 percent of the UV energy it gets from the sun. This means that the UV damage your eyes and skin can gain from the sun is amplified in the winter months. So while you may second guess your need for goggles or sunglasses when you’re hitting the slopes or even driving in the winter months, think again. Make sure you’re always wearing eye protection when you’re spending time outdoors no matter the season.

What is Snowblindness?

Snow Blindness or photokeratitis is when UV energy from the sun (often amplified by bouncing off snow) damages the top layer of cells on your eyes; almost like a sunburn on your eyes (Yikes!). This causes blurry vision, temporary blindness from bright light, you may notice lingering streaks of colour in your vision from moving objects, and they may just feel all around irritated.

A girl with damaged eyes of UV energy

Snowblindess is often shrugged off as a part of winter life, but it can in fact be dangerous. If you expose your eyes to that amount of UV energy for a long period of time without wearing eye protection – say a long day on the slopes? The damage caused can be permanent.

If you experience sun blindness make sure to rest and take it easy on your eyes – while you may feel okay, your eyes need time to recover. Most importantly, make sure you’re wearing eye protection whenever you’re outdoors!

Treat Dry Eyes

A girl is treating her dry eyes

Another impact of winter on our eyes is dryness. Just like our skin tends to dry out in the cold winter months, our eyes can too. While some of us are more prone to dry eyes, winter can cause this annoying issue in anyone. To keep your eyes protected and comfortable keep a bottle of eye drops handy. While a visit to National Eye & Ear of Tucson is a good way to get an idea about the health of your eyes and what type of eye drops you should use, in general a lipid eye drop is best. Try to avoid any eye drops targeted at redness as they can dry the eye out even more. In addition to eye drops, make sure you stay hydrated in the dry winter months. It’s important for your overall health, but also your eyes!

Wear Sunglasses and Proper Sports Eye Protection

A girl is wearing sunglasses for protection

While it’s been said a couple of times in this article so far, the importance of wearing sunglasses and proper eye protection in the winter is no joke. In addition to sun blindness and UV rays, certain winter sports can pose a risk to your eyes as well. Skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snowmobiling they can all come with risks to your eyes. It can be a chunk of ice flying up as you stop at the bottom of the slopes, or a foreign object hitting you as you race down the trails on your snowmobile. If you’re partaking in any winter activities always make sure you’re wearing proper eye protections. It could be tinted goggles to protect you from the sun and possible accidents. If you wear prescription glasses, there are an abundance of options of prescription goggles out there now to make the choice to wear your winter eye protection even easier.

Whether you’re heading out for a walk, or enjoying a day on the slopes winter brings with the need for extra caution when it comes to protecting your eyes.