Yes, you heard right. You still need to wear sunglasses even in the wintertime in New York. That is, if you want to protect your eyes, specifically your cornea and retina, from the sun. Harmful UV rays still hit the planet 365 days of the year, even when you’re freezing cold outside on your way to Whole Foods on E 57th St. In fact, these UV rays are especially powerful when there is snow on the streets of Manhattan because it acts as a mirror reflecting light into your eyes, causing permanent damage to your vision. With proper protection, you could help prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and other eye diseases.
So what is proper eye protection? It’s important to note, that not just any pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes.
First, when it comes to dealing with glare and reflection, especially off of snow, polarized lenses will not only cut it out, it will also reduce strain to your eyes, give you sharper vision, and overall improving your visual comfort.
Second, just because a pair of sunglasses are polarized doesn’t mean that it provides full protection from UV rays. Make sure that you see it written somewhere that the glasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection. Don’t just take the salesman’s word for it.
Another way to make sure that your eyes are protected from UV, even when you’re not wearing sunglasses, is to get ZEISS eyeglass lenses, which automatically come with UVProtect technology. Even with clear lenses that have no sunglass tint at all, ZEISS lenses give you sunglass-level UV protection.
Good quality sunglasses that have both polarized protection and UVA and UVB protection might not be cheap, but your vision is worth it. Invest in a good pair, take good care of them, and you’ll be investing in the health of your eyes. Keep in mind that from time to time you may need to replace them, depending on how well you take care of the glasses–and if you want to go for a new look. So New Yorkers, even in the winter, even when you think it’s not that sunny outside, put on your shades to protect your eyes.