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Why You Should Wear Sunglasses in the Winter

Most of us associate sunglasses with warm weather, hanging out at the beach, and other fun summertime activities, and while sunglasses are important for preventing UV damage to our eyes, most of us make the mistake of forgetting to wear our favorite shades during the cold, and sometimes snowy, winter months. Here are some important reasons why it is important to always remember to wear your sunglasses – any time of the year. 

Sunglasses aren’t just fashionable. 
Sunglasses have been a fashion staple since the 1930s, and of course the right pair of shades can add a certain amount of “cool” to any outfit, but a quality pair of sunglasses are also important to your visual health as they help to block harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes.
 
Sunglasses can help prevent the symptoms associated with dry eyes during winter weather. If you’ve ever experienced dry eye syndrome, you know how uncomfortable constantly dry eyes can be. While some people suffer from chronic dry eye, others associate it with seasonality, and winter is typically the worst time of the year for red, irritated and dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses is an especially good move for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time outside during the winter months. Wearing sunglasses will not only help to prevent the symptoms of dry eye, but also help prevent damaging UV light from entering the eyes. If you experience chronic dry eye you might want to consider purchasing wrap-around style sunglasses to block wind and dust from reaching the eyes as well. 
 
UV rays are just as harmful during the winter as they are during the summer. Damage from the sun can occur just as easily in the winter as it can during the summer months. Many snowboarders and skiers experience “goggle tan” that comes from UV light giving them a tan, or possibly even a sunburn, on the exposed area of skin surrounding their ski goggles. That same light can cause damage to the eyes, which can also lead to macular degeneration and the progression of age related eye disease. Yet another reason why wearing your sunglasses during the winter months is important. 
 
Sunlight reflected off snow can actually cause greater glare than any light during the summer months. While summer sun light is a little brighter than the winter sun on a clear day, light reflecting off snow can make glare levels extremely high and hazardous, especially when operating a motor vehicle. It’s important to remember your sunglasses during the cold, winter months to help alleviate the increased level of glare. 
 
In short, sunglasses are practical any time of the year. When purchasing new shades, make sure to look for polarized lenses as this will guarantee full protection from damaging UV light. 
 

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Kerry Solomon, MD

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Our renowned ophthalmologists in Charleston, and the entire state of South Carolina. At his Mt. Pleasant ophthalmology practice, with additional locations in North Charleston, West Ashley, and Summerville. Our specializes in refractive lens exchange, PRK, LASIK, cataract surgery with multifocal IOLs and toric lenses, and other eye surgery procedures. His patients come to Charleston from areas such as Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Hilton Head, Goose Creek, Johns Island, and Kiawah Island, SC; Asheville, NC; and Savannah, GA.

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