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Home » What's New » The Danger of UV to your Eyes – In the Winter

The Danger of UV to your Eyes – In the Winter

Winter is officially here, which means in some locations whipping winds and freezing rains and sometimes snow aren't far behind. You wouldn't ever think of leaving the house without a heavy sweater or coat in overcast conditions, nevertheless unfortunately, far too many people don't think to take their sunglasses. While many of us don't think about the glaring sun when we are bundling up against the frigid winter climate, the sun is still a present danger in colder climates, and in certain circumstances can be even more powerful.

They didn't write a song called "winter wonderland" for no reason. Especially following a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glow due to the sunlight reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the earth. In fact, in many cases it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outdoors after a fresh snow. The ultraviolet radiation that many people are so careful in protecting ourselves against in the summertime can in reality be more dangerous in the wintertime due to the fact that it reflects off the snow or ice, resulting in a second exposure. This is why sunglasses are a necessary part of your winter wardrobe.

While it's important to look great in your shades, the most important consideration when selecting sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make certain your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays by checking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is proper sun protection isn't necessarily expensive. Dozens of inexpensive brands are made with total UV coverage.

A further important feature in choosing sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The larger the surface area covered by your sunglasses, the less harmful UV rays will be able to get past your sunglasses. Glasses with side shield will also stop harmful rays from sneaking in through the periphery.

Although it's much more commonly known these days that sunglasses are critical beach gear since the water reflects ultraviolet radiation, this also applies to frozen water sources including ice and snow. Consquently it is equally important to wear sunglasses during times when you go out in wintery conditions. Also ultraviolet radiation is stronger at high altitudes so if you have plans to hit the slopes take this into consideration.

Make a point to be knowledgable about adequate eye protection throughout the year. Make your sunglasses a fixed part of your routine.

Dear Patients,

Dr. Lewis Eye Care has made the difficult choice to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic based on the recommendation of the CDC. We cannot perform eye exams while maintaining social distancing, so continuing to see patients at this time could contribute to the spread of the virus.

Our initial plan had been to reopen Monday April 6th. However, as we get closer to that date it is becoming apparent that we may have to be closed for a longer, indefinite period of time.

If you are having an urgent eye health issue, there are some clinics in our area that are seeing patients for emergencies during shorter business hours. You should call ahead to those offices before going to their clinic, as their availability might change day by day. Those clinics could include Vancouver Eye Care at 360-823-2020, Peace Health Medical Group Eye Care at 360-514-7210, and Vancouver Clinic in Salmon Creek at 360-882-2778.

If you need a glasses or contact lens prescription emailed to you from our office, click on the Contact Form link, type in your name, email, and what you are requesting, and we will email you the information you need as soon as we can.

Thank you for your understanding, and please stay healthy during this difficult time.


Dr. Scott Lewis, OD