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You Need to Wear Shades in the Winter too!

Winter is officially here, which means in some places stinging winds and cold precipitation are also in the forecast. Most of us would never even think of leaving the house without a jacket in overcast weather, but surprisingly, a lot of people leave their sunglasses behind. Although the sun may not be our first concern during times that we are bundling up against the bitter cold, the sun is still in full force in colder climates, and sometimes can be even more powerful.

For times when you find yourself snowed in, you should be even more cautious. Especially in the aftermath of a snow storm, the blanket of snow covering the ground, trees and everything else in sight, actually magnifies the reflection of the sunlight. In fact, it can downright hurt your eyes when you first leave the house following a glistening snow. The UV sunlight that many of us are so vigilant in avoiding during the summertime may really be more hazardous in the wintertime due to the fact that it bounces off the snow or ice, resulting in a second exposure. This is the reason a good pair of sunglasses is an essential winter accessory.

Although you want to feel great in your sunglasses, the most important part of deciding upon a pair of sunglasses is checking that they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV light by checking for an indication that they are labeled UV 400 (this means they block all light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which includes both UVA and UVB rays.) The good news is proper protection for your eyes doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive pair. Many of the more inexpensive brands are made with complete UV coverage.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to penetrate. Wrap around frames will also prevent harmful rays from entering through the sides.

Just as most people are aware that sunglasses are essential water gear since the water reflects ultraviolet rays, this also applies to snow and ice. Consequently it is just as essential to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in the snow. Also UV radiation is stronger at greater elevations such as mountain ski slopes.

This wintertime, keep warm and stay protected! Don't leave home without your shades.