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The benefits of sunglasses for UV eye protection in winter

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of sunwear during summer, but it’s important all year round. Summer serves as a great time to focus your practice around educating patients on the importance of wearing sunglasses. Patients are very receptive to the message as they plan vacations and fun activities for the family.

Sunglasses are just as important in the winter for a variety of reasons. Winter creates a series of hurdles for eye health, including sun damage to the eyes via reflection and absorption of light in snow, the seasonal angle of the sun, and less shade cover.


This blog should help you make the case to your patients about the eye health benefits of wearing sunglasses even in winter.



The sun's seasonal position is important

During the winter, the sun is lower in the sky, creating more high-glare situations. The angle of the sun reflects directly off snow and vehicles, never reaching its peak summer height directly over our heads.


Reflections are dangerous for drivers without the proper protective eyewear. Even the best polarized sunglasses help to mitigate the glare in these situations but come with the downside of making icy patches harder to spot. Still, there are many benefits to polarized.


Check out this free course on the benefits of polarized lenses, available to you via 20/20 Magazine and Hoya Vision Care.

Sun exposure can increase in winter

Winter can actually increase our exposure to ultraviolet (UV) and high-energy visible (HEV) rays because snow reflects more light than roads, grass, or sand. In fact, fresh snow can almost double a person’s UV exposure.


While many of your patients are likely spending less time outdoors during the winter months, they need the right winter eye protection for even the most mundane of errands. The right pair of sunglasses can reduce glare and the risk of damage to the eyes.



UV rays break through the shade

We all know winter weather can turn quickly, with overcast mornings often breaking into bright afternoons. Clouds offer varying levels of protection from UV light, but often filter less than patients expect. Even on overcast days, there can be an increase in UV exposure, and yet, many patients choose not to wear sunglasses on those days.


Make sure our patients know the risk of certain eye conditions, such as photokeratitis, known as a "sunburn of the eye", and macular degeneration. Sunglasses will keep their eyes shielded for long-term eye health.



Note this about snowless winters

We don’t all live in snowy climates. However, the absence of snow doesn't mean your patients can go without sunglasses in the winter months. The seasonal position of the sun and cloud cover problems persist. In warmer climates, emphasize the importance of using sunwear all year round.



Recommend winter sunglasses

Many of the same features that you should be recommending for summer sunglasses apply year-round. If your patients love to spend the winter months outdoors, then there are a few additional considerations.


  • Lenses should still block 100 percent of UV and at least 80 percent HEV rays.
  • Just as in summer, consider light, yet durable materials such as polycarbonate.
  • Think about the durability of frames as well when choosing a set that provides full protection to eyes and the surrounding skin.
  • The tint should reduce visible light by 75 to 90 percent for optimal comfort in snow-covered areas.
  • Polarized lenses provide more protection against the increased glare but can make ice on sidewalks or ski slopes more difficult to spot. Make sure you educate your patients on the drawbacks.

Interested in boosting your sunwear sales throughout the entire year?

Download our sun protection white papers for the information you can use to educate patients today.

Download Our Sun Protection White Papers