Summer has come to an end, so it’s time to put the sunglasses away-right? Actually, there is a higher risk of UV exposure in the winter.
Not only do the rays come from overhead, but the snow also reflects them back upwards. This gives us a double whammy, and puts the eyes at risk for UV burns, which we call snowblindness. Symptoms for this include sore, watery eyes, blurred vision and the feeling of having grit in the eye. This can last for several days before the eye heals itself. Lubricating drops and cold compresses can help with the irritation. Sometimes, your eye doctor can prescribe medicated drops (such as steroids) to reduce the inflammation. However, prevention is the best solution. So keep those sunglasses handy. A material that provides 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays (UV400) is ideal. Also, a polarized lens will help cut the glare from the multi-faceted reflections. If you’re skiing, a good set of goggles will be just as useful; just make sure you’re getting the proper protection. Also, a quality set will allow you to have unrestricted peripheral vision to avoid obstacles (and other skiers) on the course. Enjoy the outdoors this winter, there’s a lot that we can do. Just make sure that your eyes are protected to avoid any unwanted outcomes.