Sunglasses are an obvious choice during bright summer months, but what you may not know is why you should wear them all year. Ultraviolet (UV) light is present no matter the time of year, and eye care professionals recommend wearing UV-blocking sunglasses every day for a number of reasons.

A normal part of the aging process makes it likely that you will develop cataracts in your lifetime. A cataract occurs when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy and opaque over time, obscuring your vision. Cataracts usually require surgery to correct. UV light is a direct contributor to cataract formation. Select sunglasses that are labeled “UV 400” or “100% UV Protection” for the ultimate protection.

Macular Degeneration
One of the parts of your eye is called the macula, and is the portion responsible for processing the central image. In Macular Degeneration, deposits have built up on the macula and your vision declines, possibly resulting in blindness. Blue and Violet colors of the light spectrum can exacerbate the development of Macular Degeneration, but can be blocked by the right sunglasses.

Sunburned Eyes
Though you may envision summer sunshine as being hazardous, winter can be worse. Snow reflects even minimal sunlight, plus UV rays. This causes sunburn on your eyelids or on the delicate surface of your eye, a condition called Photokeratitis. In the shorter days of winter, eye care professionals frequently treat patients in extreme pain from this issue. Skin cancer around the eyes is another possibility, easily prevented by wearing sunglasses.

Dry Eyes
Winter’s onslaught of wind, rain, and snow can really dry out your eyes. The effects of wintry conditions may cause redness, burning, and excessive watering, compromising your vision. Sunglasses protect against weather, helping your eyes retain their moisture.

Snow & Sun Blindness
As mentioned above, snow reflects sunlight and amplifies the surrounding brightness. On a sunny day of winter sports, you would be battling against the sun as it strikes you from the sky, and again as it bounces up from the snow. If participating in activities such as skiing or snowboarding, the ideal protection would be UV-blocking sports goggles.

Your eyes benefit from wearing sunglasses at all times of the year. Protect your vision and ensure your eye comfort by obtaining a UV blocking pair and wearing them consistently. Consult your eye care provider for help choosing the right types of sunglasses for your activities.