The importance of winter sunglasses

Sunglasses are typical in summer, perhaps ideally paired with a cool drink in hand. It’s important that we recognise that although the sun may not feel as warm in the winter, it still emits dangerous UV (ultraviolet) rays. Eye damage from sunlight is still possible in winter, which is why we strongly advise wearing eye protection on those bright, cold days.

Dangers of UV rays

UV rays are electromagnetic radiation; as they are invisible, it’s easy to dismiss them. UV light is made up of 3 types: UVA, UVB and UVC, but it’s the UVA and UVB rays that we need to protect our eyes from. Our ozone layer absorbs UVC rays, but although the remaining 2 types provide life and light, they can cause damage too.

UVA rays

UVA rays can pass through the cornea, reaching the lens and the retina. Overexposure has been shown to increase the chance of cataracts and macular degeneration later in life and potentially cause blindness.

Most UVB rays don’t make it through the ozone layer, but some do. These can cause corneal issues, short-term ‘snow blindness’ which is like having painful, sunburnt eyes, and other vision problems.

Other conditions related to excessive sun exposure include skin cancer around the eyes.

Winter sun

winter sun

The winter sun can cause damage in some ways that may come as a surprise to you:

  1. Low sun – The angle of sunshine in the winter is not just an issue with glare that can interfere with clear vision – it can also damage eyesight.
  2. Cloudy days – UV rays can penetrate light cloud cover by as much as 80%.
  3. Snow – Reflects about 85% of sunlight, so you can get an almost double dose of UV rays.
  4. Altitude – UV exposure increases about 4-5% for every 300 metres of altitude gain.

Avoiding sun damage to eyes

protect your eyes

Sunglasses are the most surefire way to protect your eyes. They don’t just help give our eyes a rest from squinting, they filter out the harmful UV rays. Skimping on low-quality sunglasses or having scratched lenses can do more harm than good – without any UV coating at all, your eyes will dilate to let more light in, allowing more UV to penetrate, while a scratched lens will mean a damaged UV coating.

Dry eye syndrome is also more common in winter – sunglasses can help protect against dust and drying winds, providing added relief for your eyes.

Polarised sunglasses

polarised sunglasses

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There are sunglasses, and then there are polarised sunglasses! Polarised lenses eliminate glare from reflective flat surfaces such as snow, water, wet roads, and car bonnets and improve contrast for more clarity of vision.

While they look the same as standard lenses, they cleverly filter out this horizontal light that causes squinting, obstructs your vision, and triggers eye strain. This greatly helps in sports, driving, and people with sensitive eyes.

Here at Optix, we love Maui Jim’s offerings. These award-winning polarised sunglasses offer unparalleled glare elimination and full UV protection while enhancing the natural colours around you for the sharpest, most comfortable vision at any time of year.

We offer the broadest range of Maui Jim sunglasses in the country and can make them up as prescription or non-prescription sunglasses according to your needs.

UV Protection from your opticians in the City of London

No matter which sunglasses you choose, your eyes and future self will thank you for the protection against sun damage to eyes they offer this winter and all those to come. Visit us to browse our collections or check out how polarised sunglasses can make a huge difference to your vision – you’ll find us right in the heart of the City of London.