When we think of sunglasses, images of sandy beaches, surf, patios, and sunshine are usually the first images that pop into our heads. Rarely do snowy landscapes, ice, and winter jackets make the list of items synonymous with sunglasses. However, when living in Calgary sunglasses are important at all times of the year. Often with the absence of summer, we forget why it is important to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun. I’m going to give you some important reasons as to why you should wear your sunglasses regularly in the darker winter months as well.
UV doesn’t go away because it’s cold outside!
Typically in winter, we spend less time outside because of colder temperatures and a reduction in daylight. However, when we do decide to venture outside of our cozy dwellings, it is still extremely important to wear our sunglasses. We are all aware, that UV radiation from the Sun can cause harm and do damage to our bodies. It is also true, that UV radiation is stronger during the summer months between May to August. For this reason, we are encouraged by health care practitioners to slather on the sunscreen while outside when it is warm and sunny. But UV radiation doesn’t disappear just because our the temperature outside drops and the geese fly south! It is important to remember that we are exposed to harmful UV rays everyday, regardless of season, temperature, or cloud condition. Just because it isn’t sunny out doesn’t mean that your body is not getting UV exposure. UV exposure also increases the higher in altitude you are. In Calgary sunglasses are particularly important because our city sits at a higher altitude than many other places.
Sunglasses Help Protect Against “Snow Blindness”!
A lot of us have probably known someone, or might have even suffered personally from a case of snow blindness. Snow blindness is a very painful eye condition and is a result of the eye receiving too much UV radiation from the sun. A lot of this exposure comes from reflective glare off of snow. Along with glare, snow can reflect 85-90% UV rays. Therefore, when it’s snowy outside in Calgary sunglasses will help protect your eyes against intense reflective glare. Excessive UV exposures can cause a sunburn of the eye’s cornea and conjunctiva. This sunburn of the eye is medically referred to as, photoketatitis or more commonly snow blindness. Just like a sunburn, snow blindness may not present itself until hours after exposure to the sun. Common symptoms of this condition can include watery/tearing eyes, red eyes, eye pain, and/or the feeling of grit or sand in your eyes. Snow blindness can cause temporary vision loss and in the most extreme cases, permanent loss of vision. It is important to wear sunglasses to help protect the eyes against the Sun’s harmful rays.
Sunglasses Can Help You See in Snow, Even When It’s Not So Sunny!
Having a blanket of snow on the ground, paired with clouds overhead can cause flat lighting. Flat light happens when there is an absence of shadows on the ground as a result of light being defused in all directions from clouds overhead. Since snow is white, this flat light makes it hard to see any definition in hills and drops without having shadows. This is very important especially in the activity of skiing. As it is very important for skiers to be able to see bumps as well as changes in slope. Using a brown, rose, or persimmon sunglass lens, will actually help you see definition in the terrain of the snow better. This is because these colours increase contrast giving the subtle shadows more definition. In the end, making it much easier to see.
Sunglasses look great paired with a parka!
New seasons make way for new styles, and just like clothes, sunglasses are no different. Many clothing designers, who also design eyewear will bring out a new line of ophthalmic and sunglasses for fall and winter (like Chanel, Tom Ford, Dior). The new styles typically mimic components and colours from the designer’s fall and winter fashion clothing collection. The change in style typical compliments the change in season. So now, that turquoise, wayfarer that wore all summer with your shorts, might not look as great with your winter jacket! If any thing, use the change in season as an excuse to get a great new pair of sunglasses!
At the Glenmore Landing Vision Center in Calgary sunglasses are our specialty! We carry the latest fashions in designer frames. Come see us for a great selection of sunglasses, that will help protect your eyes during the dreary winter months!
Article Written By: Trina Vanaalst