Winter UV Eye Safety

When it’s hot and sunny out, the warm rays remind us to wear our sunglasses and protect our skin with sunblock.  But once the cold weather and cloudy days arrive, it’s easy to forget about those UV rays.  Did you know that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds?  (Skin Cancer Foundation)  And if you like to hit the slopes, remember that snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, increasing UV exposure.  This is especially true if you and your family are on a ski vacation – the higher your altitude, the greater your UV exposure.

Over time, the effects of UV rays may contribute to a number of eye problems.  There are two types of UV Rays: UV-A and UV-B.  UV-A can affect your central vision by damaging the macula which is a part of the retina at the back of your eye.  The front part of your eye (the cornea and the lens) absorbs most UV-B rays which can cause some kinds of cataracts, Pterygium (a growth that begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea) and even a corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis (Prevent Blindness).

To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses every time you go out, even if it’s just to run errands or check the mail.  Harmful UV rays are always present when the sun is out, even if it’s hidden behind the clouds.  During winter sports, wear protective goggles or sunglasses with 99-100% UVA and UVB protection.  Wearing polarized lenses in high-glare situations like skiing, snowboarding, or fishing will help you see more clearly as well.  And of course, remember to protect your face and skin from UV exposure.

Visit Medical Eye Center Optical to choose from a wide variety of designer sunglasses that protect your eyes from both types of UV rays and offer polarization, including Oakley, Maui Jim, and Ray Ban.  Our medical spa, Renew at Medical Eye Center, carries sunblock that offers daily broad-spectrum protection against damaging UVA/UVB rays from the sun but also blends flawlessly under makeup without leaving a white residue on the skin.

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