Have you ever stepped outside on a snowy day and felt like you were blinded by the sun? Lots of fresh snow is great for snow sports, but it’s not so great for our eyes and skin. As the Appalachian Mountain Club warns, “don’t be deceived if temperatures are cold or the wind is blowing. Neither has any effect on UV.”
The combination of sun and snow pack a dangerous UV punch. UV Awareness explains that “fresh snow is a particularly good reflector and almost doubles a person’s UV exposure.” In fact, freshly fallen snow can reflect as much as 80% of UV radiation. This type of UV exposure can lead to a condition known as snow blindness, or photokeratitis. As you can imagine, this condition is quite common among skiers, snowboarders, and any others who venture into the snowy backcountry.
UV Awareness also notes that UV exposure of this sort is even stronger at higher altitudes because the atmosphere is thinner and absorbs less UV radiation. According to the website, UV radiation levels increase by about 10 to 12% for every 1,000 meters in increased altitude, putting your eyes at even more of a risk for snow blindness or even more permanent damage.
Appalachian Mountain Club also reminds us that all of this UV radiation that is reflecting off of the snow is coming from below, which means everyday sunglasses and hats may not do the trick.
To avoid snow blindness, it is important to be sure your family’s snow gear includes UV protective goggles or sunglasses when enjoying the outdoors in the snow. And of course, you should also wear sunscreen to protect any exposed skin.
Real Kids Shades has a variety of sunglasses in fun colors and styles your kids will want to wear while at play this winter. Our sunglasses are designed specifically to protect little eyes, blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Visit our website today to view and learn more about our products, as well as to make a purchase or to find a retailer near you.