The Denver optometrists of Vision Care Specialists love to ski. With some of the country’s best slopes only a quick drive from Denver, the start of a new ski season is always an exciting time. However, the fast pace of the slopes in combination with the altitude, winds, bright sunlight, and cold temperatures can be hard on your eyes. Whether you have perfect sports vision or wear contacts or glasses normally, it’s important to protect your eyes when skiing!
The most critical goal of eye protection on the slopes is to minimize ultraviolet exposure. High in the mountains and surrounded by reflective white snow, the UV light can be extremely intense while skiing. That’s why it’s important to protect your eyes with UV blocking goggles or sunglasses. Eye protection can also minimize glare, improving safety, as well as protect your eyes from wind, snow, and any particles in the air.
We break down the pros and cons of wearing goggles, sunglasses, glasses, and contacts on the slopes!
- 1. Goggles provide the most complete protection. They are sturdy and designed to fit comfortably with a ski helmet. They protect your eyes against particles, glare, UV light, wind, and snow. Because they wrap around your face, they offer maximum protection. You can even purchase specialty goggles with your eyeglass prescription built in for maximum visual clarity and protection! They only downsides of goggles is that some skiers feel they are bulky and in the worst conditions they can fog up, but many skiers love using goggles on the slopes!
- 2. Sunglasses can provide good UV protection and some level of protection against glare, wind, snow, and particles. However, sunglasses can fall off if you are moving too quickly, so it’s best to use these when skiing at a slower pace. Also, sunglasses leave much of your face unprotected, making them less effective than goggles in minimizing exposure. Sunglasses can also be special ordered with your prescription for optimal vision, so they can be a good option.
- 3. Ordinary glasses have all of the same shortcomings as sunglasses, but because they lack UV protection, they are not recommended for the slopes. Even on overcast days, UV rays can still reflect off the snow and damage eyes. Skiing with glasses at high speeds can be risky, since glasses are prone to fall off. In addition, both glasses and sunglasses often do not fit under a helmet as well as goggles and both are more prone to breakage in a bad fall than sturdier, padded goggles.
- 4. Contacts, combined with goggles or sunglasses, are a well-loved option by many skiers. They keep your vision sharp and have a low risk of breakage. No worry about fitting them under goggles and they are not likely to fog up. Also, if you are prone to dry eyes, make sure to use eye drops and change your contacts at the appropriate intervals to keep your eyes from drying out on the cold, windy slopes.
This ski season, give your eyes (and the rest of you) maximum protection on the slopes!
What’s your preferred skiing eyewear?