Denver Sports Vision: Eye-Damaging Snow Reflection

Coloradans have the good fortune of living in a state with an abundance of outdoor fun during the winter. In fact, Colorado has as many outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter as in the summer, and our wonderful combination of snow and sun makes it a winter sport haven. However, this combination is also hard on the eyes, and we need to be sure to protect ourselves from snow reflection eye damage. Read your Denver sports vision professionals’ advice on protecting your eyes from the winter wonderlands. 

Snow reflects sun with amazing power. Snow on the ground reflects 80% of the sun’s rays! That means that on a bright, snowy day, your exposed skin is receiving almost double the sunlight that it would be on a hot summer day. Don’t be fooled by thinking that cold weather will keep your skin and eyes from burning. Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or spending more than a half-hour outside doing anything in the snow, make sure to protect yourself.

First, never forget to apply sunscreen. Use sunscreen of sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher on all exposed skin. But still try to cover up as much skin as possible, even if it’s not that cold. Ironically, warm, sunny days require you to cover more of your skin because the sun’s rays are much more damaging. Wear long sleeves, a hat or helmet with a brim, a balaclava.

While many of us are accustomed to protecting our skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we often forget about protecting our eyes. Even with limited exposure, sun and snow reflection can cause temporary but painful photokeratitis, whose symptoms may not show for 6 to 12 hours; in the long term, cataracts, macular deterioration, and cancer, are can be brought on by unprotected eye exposure to the sun.

This damage is also more acute at high altitude, where many of Colorado’s winter sports occur. Protect yourself with polarized, UV sunglasses or goggles. UV protection shields your eyes from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays; polarized lenses block reflected glare from snow and water.

How to use this Information

Pick out the right polarized, UV sunglasses from Vision Care Specialists today! If you’re going to be spending time outside this Colorado winter, let our Denver sports vision experts help you make the right choices for your eye health and pick out the right sunglasses or goggles, with or without a prescription. Call us at (303) 991-9600 or contact us online.

How do you protect yourself from snow’s bright reflection?