Winter is upon us! We’ve just received our first snow dump for the year in Vancouver and surrounding areas. However, it is not the first dump on the mountains. Although it seems counter-intuitive, we still need to protect our eyes from damaging UV rays during the winter months. Just because there isn’t as much sun, doesn’t mean our eyes don’t need protecting. Overcast days are often the most deceiving, because cloud cover doesn’t completely stop UV penetration (water droplets in the clouds scatter the light but if the cloud is not dense enough, UV will still go through).
Although Vancouver does not receive the most snow, for those of you that spend time in the mountains it is important to ensure you have proper UV protection. The reflection of light from the snow mounds actually enhances the light and UV exposure (same as summer time when you’re in the water – the water increases the amount of light and UV entering your eyes). Goggles provide the best protection by ensuring all angles where light can enter your eyes are covered.
Another consideration for winter sports eye protection is the colour of the lenses you pick. Pink lenses provide the best clarity and contrast enhancement on sunny winter days. This is especially important for people who do moguls or have a need for improved detail/contrast sensitivity. Options to think about are polarized or mirrored lenses as well (which can be added on to any coloured lens selection). Polarized lenses cut out glare where as mirrored lenses simply reflect more light off the lens so less light enters. Yellow or brown lenses also provide similar features but not to the same level.
Whether you’re hiking, snowboarding, or skiing this winter, make sure you have the proper eye wear so you can see potential dangers and protect your eyes from UV damage. If you have any questions, feel free to visit us at Wink Optometry, your local Burnaby eye clinic, and we will be more than happy to help you out.