Nothing is more beautiful than the sun peeking up from behind snow-covered peaks. The air is crisp, the powder is fresh, and the slopes are ready. But are your eyes ready? If you participate in winter sports, you undoubtedly check your equipment and your clothing several times before heading out. One of the essentials for winter sports that is often overlooked: eye protection. Proper eye protection will not only keep you seeing clearly, but it will keep you safe and comfortable as you enjoy the winter wonderland.
Why Use Eye Protection?
There are a myriad of reasons to grab some goggles or other eye protection before going to the mountains to play. The first and most harmless reason is to avoid sunburn on the eyes. Eye burn is painful and annoying, and totally preventable.
The second reason is to avoid UV rays getting into the eyes. If you think that UV rays are absorbed by the snow, think again. Up to 80% of sunlight is reflected back by the snow and ice, making sunlight twice as damaging in the winter. UV rays can do more harm than just sunburn, they can burn and damage the retina. This damage can eventually contribute to cataracts.
UV rays that aren’t filtered by the retina can continue on to do damage to the macula, or the part of the eye responsible for visual acuity. This UV damage can cause macular degeneration and vision loss.
Finally, eyes can also be damaged by tree branches or other flying debris. Wearing protective gear over the eyes can prevent these items from doing permanent damage to the eyes. It can also shield the eyes from snow and other precipitation, making skiing or snowboarding much easier.
Good Choices for Winter Eye Protection
No matter your style or needs, there is most certainly a type of eye protection that will suit you.
This choice offers the best protection from the sun and elements. Their design shields your eyes in the front and sides. They also help keep your face warm and can prevent frost bite. Goggles come with different tinted lenses, and certain colors work best in certain conditions:
- Orange and yellow: best in overcast or hazy conditions, make shadows brighter
- Brown, copper, and grey: best in sunny conditions, make it easier to focus
- Amber, rose, and red: best in partly cloudy conditions, help emphasize shadows
Many companies offer interchangeable lenses, so you can change your lenses right there on the slope as a storm rolls in. Discomfort can be a concern with goggles, so make sure you try on plenty of pairs that fit well on both your face and your head.
Sunglasses are easier to wear and much smaller than goggles, but the downside is that they only protect your eyes from the front. Sunglasses are usually preferred for days with no snow or other precipitation. They are also best in conditions that aren’t particularly cold. When choosing good sunglasses for winter sports, remember that fashion sunglasses won’t do the trick. Look for specialty sports sunglasses with tinted lenses (see color guide above) and 90% to 100% UV blockage. The longer you are going to be on the slopes, the higher the UV blockage should be.
There’s No Excuse for Not Wearing Eye Protection
Good winter eye protection is an essential, second only to a good helmet. Eye protection can be custom fit to you, and prescription lenses can even be made for your eye protection. Eyewear can be found in all price ranges, and are available at many different outlets. Since it’s so easy and affordable to get good sunglasses and goggles, there’s no excuse to not wear eye protection this winter.
Nothing gets in the way of a great day on the mountain like not being able to see properly. If you have questions about finding great winter eyewear, look no further than Advanced Eye Medical. Their eye protection experts can help you find a great pair of sunglasses or goggles. Schedule your winter eye protection consultation today and hit the slopes with clarity.