Make Sunglasses a Necessity This Winter

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Many Americans put away their sunglasses and UV eye protection this time of year, but there is still a glaring need to protect the eyes and the skin around them from overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The Vision Council recommends UV eye protection that fit every travelers needs.

"No matter where you are travelling this winter, the risk of damage to eyes from unprotected UV exposure is still present. The Vision Council wants people to be aware of the potential for UV damage from participating in outdoor winter sports and other winter getaways," said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council.

Some winter conditions heighten susceptibility to UV damage, particularly for those engaged in high-altitude sports or sports that involve snow or ice. Fresh snow reflects nearly 80 percent of UV radiation, and UV rays can bounce back off of frozen water, doubling exposure. Under clear skies, altitude increases exposure to UV radiation by an intensity of 16 percent for every 1,000 meters above sea level.

Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans. Snow blindness, with symptoms such as redness, puffiness around the eyes, burning, watering and sensitivity to light, is also a danger.

Winter activities in which there is an increased risk of UV exposure include: skiing, sledding, outdoor ice hockey and figure skating, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Anyone participating in outdoor activities in winter can protect their eyes by wearing appropriate UV protection which includes:

>> Sunglasses

>> Sport goggles

>> Polycarbonate lenses for eyewear which offer UV protection as well as impact-resistance

>> Photochromic lenses which darken to a sunglass lens as you move from the indoors out, providing a convenient way to defend eyes

>> Sunglasses designed to be worn over prescription eyeglasses

>> Sun-clips that can be snapped on to a pair of eyeglasses

The Vision Council has great tools available to help plan any winter getaway including a widget to check the UV index of your destination, or a free smart phone app, PackLists, that can tailor your packing list to your travel destination and UV index rating. Visit www.UVBeenMissingSomething.com/tools to learn more about these interactive tools.