Why You Still Need to Wear Sunglasses in the Winter

Last Updated on April 21, 2023 by amy

Consider for a moment when you typically think about wearing your best sunglasses. Is it on a cloudy day? No, you most likely break out the best sunglasses in the summertime when there’s plenty of sunshine to block out. It would probably also seem the most appropriate to wear your best sunglasses during the hotter seasons when summer style and fashion make wearing sunglasses suitable even if it’s not exactly sunny outside.

As winter approaches, most of us will probably store our best sunglasses in our wardrobes and wait for the next sun-drenched heat wave to return; our initial thought is that no one wears the best sunglasses during the winter. Yet, in recent years, more people have been doing precisely that, which begs why. So don’t put your best sunglasses to hibernation just yet, because we’re going to go through why wearing sunglasses during the winter makes sense and can even be helpful.

Common Misconceptions
What do you usually think of when you think about wearing your best or any sunglasses in general? Sun, right? Most people wear their best sunglasses to block out the sunlight on a bright day so that they’re not blinded while walking, driving, or doing anything else that involves being outside. And this would be a rightful purpose for wearing sunglasses because they enhance your vision by keeping the sun out of your eyes.

Now you might be thinking, how is this a misconception? It’s precisely a misconception because many times, people believe that this is the sole purpose of sunglasses—to block out sunlight—when there’s more to a pair of the best sunglasses. Blocking out sunlight certainly is one of the main purposes of sunglasses and a good reason to get the best sunglasses, but to think that shades are only for blocking out light is to limit their potential and purpose.

The other common misconception about wearing sunglasses is that they’re only for looks, style, and fashion. If this is the only reason for getting the best sunglasses, then again, the purpose of sunglasses is severely diminished. Once more, it’s not to say that you can’t wear shades for fashion, but it’s not the only reason for getting the best sunglasses.

Eye Health
With some misconceptions out of the way, we can delve more directly into why we should continue wearing our best sunglasses in the winter. Again, most people wouldn’t consider wearing sunglasses during winter because there’s hardly any sun. Maybe there are a few days out of the three months of winter during which the sun visits, but for the most part, winter skies are bleak and cloudy.

Yet, the few days the sun comes around, its rays can be more harmful to us than we think. With winter comes the dreaded snow that makes it horrendous to walk in the streets when it starts melting. Worse, when sun and snow combine, it means terrible news for our eyes. We might not see it, but snow reflects 85 percent of the sun’s UV rays, which means a higher level of potential damage to our eyes than on a typical sunny day, so you must wear your best sunglasses even during the winter.

Wearing the best sunglasses is highly recommended for skiers and snowboarders for this exact reason. For anyone who does recreational sports at high altitudes, there is a greater urgency to wear sunglasses because UV radiation increases by five percent for every 1,000 feet you move above sea level—because skiing and snowboarding are usually done in the mountains, that five percent may be a significant amount of UV radiation that you are exposed to. For instance, sea level is at zero feet, so when you’re at 4,000 feet, you will be exposed to 20 percent more UV radiation than normal.

We’ve been talking about wearing the best sunglasses when the sun is out, but how about when it’s cloudy? Just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean its UV rays aren’t reaching us. UV rays can still pass through clouds, reach our eyes, and cause damage. Another factor to be wary of is that during the winter season, the sun is lower in the sky and at a slightly different angle than in the summer. Because of this, people are typically more exposed to the sun’s rays during the winter.

Sometimes, failure to protect our eyes can result in corneal sunburn—called snow blindness, flash burn, or photokeratitis—essentially sunburn on the eyes. It sounds a bit scary and probably isn’t pleasant: you can read a short account of Anderson Cooper’s encounter with it in The New York Times. So to be safe, you should try to find the best sunglasses to prevent anything like corneal sunburn.

It’s not just preventing things like corneal sunburn. We need to wear the best sunglasses during the winter. There are more long-term detrimental effects of not protecting our eyes adequately, such as the formation of cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelids, and macular degeneration, which should prompt us to keep our eyes safe even during the winter.

Benefits
Getting the best sunglasses is necessary to protect your eyes from UV rays. But getting the best sunglasses and wearing them during winter also has other benefits. Think for a second. What comes to mind when we say winter? Well, for starters, there’s snow and cold weather. Cold weather usually means dry skin, dry lips, and dry everything. Our eyes are no exception.

During the cruel winter months, the combination of wind, snow, debris, dust, and ice makes it inconvenient for our eyes. Cold air tends to dry out the skin and the natural moisture around our eyes, making them dry and sometimes painful. Add some wind without your best sunglasses, and dust and debris fly into your eyes, which can have you squinting every so often on the way to work.

Wearing your best sunglasses during winter may also be a good idea if you wear contacts. As we mentioned, the cold air and wind dry out the eyes and take away the natural moisture of the eyes. If you wear contacts, the cold air and wind will most likely dry out your contacts, and we all know what a joy that is. Getting the best sunglasses to wear during the winter helps us avoid all these many, albeit small, inconveniences.

What happens when we rule out the wind, debris, and cold air for our eyes? Better vision; wearing your best sunglasses helps you see better. Snow and ice tend to create more glare than on average. So by wearing sunglasses during winter, not only are we blocking out unwanted elements bothering our precious eyes, but also reducing the level of glare. And this brings us back to one of the primary uses for sunglasses—to block out sunlight.

Fashion
Besides protecting our eyes and affording some benefits, why should you wear your best sunglasses throughout the winter? Looking stylish is a pretty good reason. Wearing sunglasses isn’t just a summer thing because the temperature has nothing to do with wearing sunglasses—they weren’t made for enduring the hot weather.

The Best Sunglasses
How can we do it now that we know how much we need to protect our eyes? Consider wearing or getting the best sunglasses to protect your eyes this winter. Trying to find the best sunglasses that will do the job is ambivalent, but there are some things you want to consider when looking for the best sunglasses.

While shopping for the best sunglasses, look for frames that block 100 percent UVA and UVB light. Ideally, you would want to find a pair large enough to cover the entirety of your eyes and some of the surrounding skin so that the sunglasses block out the sun’s rays. If you’re looking for the best sunglasses to use during sports, you’ll want something that fits close to the face. There shouldn’t be any pinching, and the fit of the sunglasses should be even throughout. If you want to go for the extra reduced glare, you’ll want to ensure that the sunglasses you get are polarized.

You’ll probably agree that our eyes are a crucial part of us. Considering the things we just discussed, hopefully, you can see that wearing your best sunglasses during winter isn’t a peculiar oddity and that doing so benefits your eyes. As we’ve seen, plenty of benefits come alongside wearing the best sunglasses during the winter—all the more reason to keep your best sunglasses out of the wardrobe!