During the winter, few people are thinking about eye protection. However, winter brings along a host of unique eye concerns—from photokeratitis and UV ray damage to icy roads and dangerous holiday toys. Luckily, by taking some precautions, nobody has to experience discomfort or eye pain this winter. We’ve collected some ways you can keep your family’s eyes safe this season!
Snow and ice reflect 80% of the sun’s rays, making winter an important time for eye protection—even after temperatures have dropped. On a cloudy day, UV rays can still penetrate the atmosphere, striking from every angle and causing damage to your eyes and skin. Fun winter activities, like skiing and snowboarding, take place at higher elevations, where sun exposure is greater. To protect yourself against eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, make sure you wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you engage in these kinds of activities.
Additionally, lack of UV protection increases your risk of photokeratitis, a condition also known as snow blindness, which is caused by UV damage to the eyes. Photokeratitis triggers painful symptoms, and sometimes even temporary vision loss. Wraparound styles of sunglasses offer the best protection. There are also specially-designed options, like ski goggles, which guard against the glare and flying particles and can be prescription fitted. By protecting your eyes from harmful rays, you can hit the slopes and have fun this winter while safeguarding your vision for the future.
When working outside with a snowblower, always wear protective eyewear as well as hearing protection. Snowblowers frequently hurl potentially eye-damaging debris along with the snow. So if you are a bystander, go inside until snow removal is over to avoid eye injuries.
Driving can also be dangerous during the winter. Snowy, icy roads make accidents far more likely. A fender bender can result in contact between the face and the dashboard or steering wheel. This could lead to eye injuries, so drive carefully and always wear your seatbelt.
As the holiday season approaches, you’ll likely be looking for a toy to gift to a young person in your life. While the toy aisle may seem innocent, many don’t realize the danger of certain toys and the power they have to cause eye injury or even vision loss. To avoid any possible danger, stay away from projectile toys or toys that have sharp parts, such as slingshots or darts. Laser pointers should also be avoided, as they can cause permanent damage to the retina in a remarkably short amount of time.
Instead, look for toys that are marked with the letters ASTM, meaning they have been certified as safe according to the national safety standards implemented by the American Society for Testing and Materials. If you are giving sports equipment to an older child, make sure they receive protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses to ensure a safe and fun experience. And, of course, make sure that any toys you give are age-appropriate.
From everyone at Better Vision New Jersey, we wish you a happy holiday season. Follow our eye safety guidelines so everyone in your family can have a safe and happy winter experience. If you have any questions or want to book an eye appointment, call us today!