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Winter Sun Safety

Winter is here! During these cloudy, cool days and winter, it is easy to think you do not need UV protection. Most people relate vigilant sun protection with summertime, but it is just as important in the winter.

Winter comes with UV exposure and other dangers like snow blindness. According to experts, you should be just as vigilant in protecting your eyes during winter as in summertime. The sun exposure you get during winter causes some of the same issues as in summer and exposes you to other problems.

What Conditions Does Winter Sun Damage Cause?


The main culprit of sun damage to the eyes is UV rays, which happen throughout the year. Other than this, the change in environmental factors also affects your eyes. Some of the common conditions that you are predisposed to during winter sun are:

  • Snow blindness

  • Macular degeneration

  • Cataracts

  • Cancer of the eyelids and other skin tissue around the eyes


What Conditions In Winter Increase The Chances Of Eye Damage?

 Varying Sun Exposure

 Winter comes with a lot of changes because of the new extreme temperatures. The mornings can be cloudy and overcast during winter, and the afternoons bright and sunny. You may leave the house prepared for a gray day, only to be assaulted by harsh sunlight later in the day. Throughout this type of day, UV rays are still penetrating the clouds. UV exposure is much more when the day is bright and sunny.



Snow is one of the main aspects of winter that causes eye damage from the sun. Snow reflects a large amount of all the sun rays that penetrate the clouds. According to experts, you may have more exposure to UV rays in a single hour in winter than an entire day in the summer. The phenomenon usually leads to a common condition in the winter called snow blindness.


How To Protect Your Eyes In Winter

Like in summer, the best way to protect your eyes in winter is always to have sunglasses every time you go out. It is best to have sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Avoid gas-stop sunglasses that usually do not have that 100 percent protection. 

It does not mean you should break the bank with designer glasses, but you can get a decent pair from a reputable store. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal because they cover your entire field of vision.


Symptoms Of Snow Blindness


As mentioned earlier, snow blindness is one of winter's most common eye damage conditions. It is also known as photokeratitis or corneal sunburn. It is inflammation of the cornea due to exposure to a lot of UV radiation. 

Here are the common symptoms of corneal sunburn:

  • Feeling like you have sand or debris in the eye

  • Excessive watering

  • Burning or stinging sensation

  • Increased sensitivity to light

  • Irritation and redness

  • Halos around bright lights

  • Blurry vision

  • Inflamed eyelids and other tissues around the eyes

  • Headaches

For more on winter vision safety call The Eye Place Optometry at our office in Midlothian, Virginia at (804) 794-3937.