Sunglasses in the winter??

Do you wear sunglasses in the winter?

Mom and Daughter wearing sunglassesJust the other day I was running out of the house with my children, recruiting their help in frantically trying to locate my misplaced sunglasses. My son stopped, looked at me funny and said, “Mom, it’s winter, and people only wear sunglasses in the summer”. That turned into a long discussion on the way to school about the importance of protecting your eyes year-round.

True, it’s not as common to see people wearing sunglasses in the winter. The thing is, most people just don’t realize that it’s very important to wear them outside during the winter because snow reflects nearly 80% of UV radiation! The snow acts somewhat like a mirror, blasting those UV rays into our eyes.

Hiker wearing sunglassesIncreased exposure to these harmful rays from the sun can cause many eye problems. One of the more common winter-time eye problems is photokeratitis. This is almost like a sunburn of the eye, resulting in redness, tearing, light sensitivity & a gritty sensation or the feeling of a foreign body in the eye. Skiers and snowboarders are notorious sufferers of photokeratitis. Although this problem is usually short-lived and typically causes no long-term vision damage, it’s not a very pleasant thing to go through! Some long-term effects of increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation are increased risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, so let’s keep them safe! Be sure you protect your eyes all year long – it’s important to have eyewear for every season. Are you in need of some shades? Come check out the selection in any one of Milwaukee Eye Care’ opticals. We’ve got you covered!

Written by Shawnté G, Surgical coordinator/Ophthalmic technician