Eyewear fashion is bigger than ever, and glasses and sunglasses aren’t just seen as accessories anymore – they are an absolute fashion essential. On top of this, we know more than ever before about the damage caused to our eyes by UV rays, both in the short and long term. So summer style and health articles are packed full of eyewear advice, but this advice tapers off in the autumn and winter, even though sunglasses still look great and the sun is still in the sky! With the insight of the experts at Red Hot Sunglasses, who have a wide range of prescription sunglasses and the expertise that comes from over five years in the eyewear industry, here’s my guide to wearing sunglasses in the winter…
The Winter Sun Can Still Damage Your Eyes
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere it’s edging into winter around about now and it’s starting to get way colder. This is because the diminishing intensity of the sunlight and it usually means you don’t have to worry as much about sun cream protecting your skin (but some SPF is advised all-year-round). However, the winter sun is much lower in the sky, so it is often shining more directly into our eyes than in the summer months. The UV rays are weaker, but the exposure is arguably higher. This is a big argument for wearing sunglasses and clear prescription glasses that come with UV protection all-year-round.
If you don’t protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, you’re leaving yourself open to a range of different eye problems further down the line. There are three big problems associated with sun damage: cataracts, pinguecula, and macular degeneration. Cataracts occur when UV radiation damages the lens of the eye over time, changing its proteins, causing it to go cloudy. In moderate cases, the vision is obscured a little; in extreme cases, the eye is rendered completely blind. Pingueculae is the thickening, yellowing of parts of the conjunctiva (the outer coating off the eye). It usually occurs in the middle of the sclera where your eyelids meet, as this part of the eye is exposed to sunlight – even when your eyes are closed. Pingueculae can cause your eyes to feel dry, burning, itchy and can cause blurry vision. Macular degeneration is gradual blindness that had previously been associated with old age. However, we now know that it is caused by exposure to UV rays over time. All of these diseases, especially macular degeneration, occur slowly, after years of exposure to the harmful ultra-violet radiation in sunlight. So protecting your eyes consistently, even in the winter, is a very smart thing to do. If you’d like to learn more about eye health and protecting your eyes from the sun, check out All About Vision – it’s full of information and useful advice.
Low Winter Sun can be a Danger to Drivers
A secondary reason to wear sunglasses or prescription sunglasses in the winter is that the low sun gets into drivers’ eyes and can sometimes dazzle them, causing accidents. Impairing drivers’ vision is doubly serious when you add frost and icy conditions into the mix. The solution is to always leave a pair of sunglasses in your car. Make sure they are comfortable to wear and that they filter enough light to protect you from getting blinded by the sudden appearance of the sun, but not so dark that they impair your vision – the experts at Red Hot Sunglasses say that a filter category 2 or 3 should do the trick. If you have a prescription, you’ll need prescription glasses; and as you’ll already need to wear glasses in this case, why not wear sunglasses on the sunny days instead?
Sunglasses Don’t Stop Looking Great Because it’s Cold
The emphasis in the fashion world often shifts away from sunglasses in wintertime, but it doesn’t need to. A beautiful pair of designer sunglasses is still going to look great paired with a coat or jacket. Don’t pack away your designer shades into the drawer along with your sun cream; be bold and wear your sunglasses any time it’s bright outside. Eyewear is becoming a bigger part of the overall fashion industry, with eye glasses being worn even when no prescription is required. Sunglasses can be worn any time of the year and they’re the perfect way to complete an outfit. In winter, it’s usually a good idea to choose black and darker colours when selecting your sunglasses.