Why you need sunglasses in winter

Why you need sunglasses in winter

Most of us tend to have the misconception that our eyes need protection from the sun’s glare only during summer months when the sun is harsh and hot.

When the weather turns cooler and sunshine becomes desirable, many of us do away with our sunglasses and expose our eyes to harmful radiation.

However, it is important to underline that sunglasses are not strictly a summer accessory. The less intense winter sun must not deceive you into believing that your eyes do not need protection any more.

According to I Rahumathullah, the managing director at Maui Jim, India, the threat of UV radiation exposure remains as severe in winter as in summers. In fact, it may be higher! While we stay away from the sun as much as we can during summers, in the winters, we like to spend more time under its warmth and end up exposing our eyes even more to the UV threat.

Thanks to greater awareness about the threat of UV radiation to the skin, sunscreen creams and lotions have become a must-have accessory for most people. However, do you know that that UV radiation poses as much a threat to the eyes, as it does to the skin?

Exposure to harmful Ultra Violet radiation emitted by the sun does not only cause skin irritation, sun burns or raise the risk of skin cancer; it is also associated with several eye-related problems ranging from temporary sunburns in the eye to more permanent damage to the cornea. Long- term problems such as Macular degeneration and cataracts are also associated with long-term sun exposure.

Photokeratitis is a painful condition caused by exposure to UV radiation. It is akin to having a sun-burned eye. In Photokeratitis also known as ultraviolet keratitis, damage is caused by high intensity UV radiation to the cornea of the eye and the conjunctiva. Most commonly, this condition occurs when the eye is exposed to sunlight reflected from surfaces of snow, water or sand. When caused by reflection of the sun’s radiation from ice or snow, this condition is also known as snow blindness.

In fact, in cases of extreme exposure to the sun, directly as well as through reflection from the snow, snow blindness may cause temporary vision loss usually lasting 24-48 hours. People involved in high altitude mountain climbing or activities like skiing are therefore specially advised to wear eye protection. Similarly if you are spending a lot of time near a water or sand surface such as a beach, eye protection is a must for you.

Other conditions associated with UV exposure include pingueculae and pterygia. They are caused by exposure to UVB radiation, and lead to non-cancerous but painful growths on the cornea and conjunctiva.

In recent years, researches have also highlighted how chronic exposure to the sun also contributes to cataracts, the condition of clouding of the eye. At the same time, long term and continuous UV exposure is also linked with the risk of cancers related to the eyes.

Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory- Most of us tend to look at sunglasses as fashion accessories; not many think about them as health accessories. However, it is important to take the health aspect of sunglasses into account while buying sunglasses. A pair of quality sunglasses is important to protect your precious eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

Go for polarized sunglasses with UV Protection- Proper UV protection is critical, as ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun plays a significant role in the development of skin cancer. About 86 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Rahumathullah says, “Maui Jim sunglasses have been awarded the Seal of Recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV filter for the eyes and surrounding skin. The polarization filter in Maui Jim lenses absorbs 99.9 percent of reflected glare, a bi-gradient mirror reflects all direct glare and an anti-reflection treatment catches and absorbs bounce-back glare. This provides a comprehensive protection to the eye from radiation coming from multiple directions and angles. Maui Jim sunglasses have been recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV filter for the eyes and surrounding skin.”


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