Winter has officially arrived, which means in some parts of the country biting winds and freezing rains and sometimes snow are also on the horizon. You would never even conceive of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in freezing climates, but unfortunately, a lot of people leave their sunglasses at home. While the sun may not be our primary consideration when we are venturing out to the frigid winter climate, the sun is still in full force in colder climates, and in certain circumstances can be even more powerful.
They don't call it a "winter wonderland" for nothing. In particular after a serious snow, the world around takes on a glistening glimmer as a result of the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, in many cases it can hurt to open your eyes when you first leave the house after a heavy snow. The ultraviolet radiation that we are all so careful about during the summertime can actually be more hazardous in the wintertime because it reflects off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is the reason a good pair of sunglasses is an essential winter accessory.
While it's important to look great in your sunglasses, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Make certain they are 100% UV blocking by checking for confirmation that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more to guarantee full protection from the sun. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide complete coverage.
Another important consideration in selecting sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when the lenses are large enough to totally shield your eyes and the areas around them as well. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also stop UV waves from sneaking in through the periphery.
Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical water gear because the water reflects sunlight, this is also true for wintery water as well. Consequently it is equally important to wear sunglasses when out in the snow. Further ultraviolet radiation is more forceful at high altitudes, so if you have plans to hit the slopes take this into consideration.
This wintertime, keep warm and keep your eyes safe! Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.