December Newsletter: Winter Sports Eye Protection

Woman wears sunglasses in winter

Eye Protection Is a Must for Your Winter Sport

Are you looking forward to spending time on the slopes or rink this winter? Wearing sports eye protection will help you avoid injuries and eye diseases that could impair your vision.

4 Benefits of Sports Eye Protection

Putting on a pair of sports sunglasses or goggles before you venture outside offers several advantages for your eyes, including:

  • Better Vision. Depending on the lenses you choose, wearing sunglasses or goggles can improve contrast and decrease glare from the snow, making it easier to see clearly on sunny or cloudy days.
  • Fewer Eye Injuries. Although crashing probably isn't your goal, falls may be hard to avoid when you're skiing, skating, snowboarding, or tubing. If your face happens to land on or graze a stick, rock, or jagged piece of ice, you could experience a serious eye injury. Although sports sunglasses provide some protection, the glasses tend to fly off your face at high speeds. Goggles offer the best protection if you'll be participating in an active winter sport. The eyewear covers your eyes completely, helping you avoid painful eye injuries.
  • Protection from the Sun. Sun glare is more than just an annoyance. Exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun can cause photokeratitis, a painful sunburn of the cornea (the clear tissue over your eye and pupil). If you fail to protect yourself from UVA and UVB light year-round, you may be more likely to eventually develop cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. Failing to wear sun protection may also increase your risk of cancer in or around your eyes.
  • No More Dry Eye. Itchy, red eyes could be signs of dry eye, a common problem during the winter. Exposure to the sun and wind causes rapid evaporation of the tear film that keeps your eyes moist and comfortable. Sports eye protection slows evaporation and reduces your risk of dry eye.

Choosing Sports Eye Protection

When selecting sports eye protection, keep in mind:

  • Purpose. Will you be a spectator or an active participant? If you plan to cheer on a friend from the sidelines at an outdoor hockey game or ski competition, a good pair of sunglasses may be all you need. Although any type of sunglasses will be helpful, wraparound styles offer the most protection from the sun. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends buying styles that offer 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. If you'll be dodging trees or hockey pucks, goggles that completely encase your eyes are the best choice. Goggles are also available with built-in sun protection.
  • Fit. The glasses or goggles that your friend loves may not be comfortable or fit you well. Luckily, your vision therapist can help you find a pair that protects you from the sun and injuries without compromising comfort.
  • Your Prescription. Prescriptions sunglasses and goggles make it easy to see if you're nearsighted or farsighted. Non-prescription goggles or glasses that are designed to be worn over your prescription glasses offer another option.
  • Clear Vision. Fogging can be a problem in the winter, particularly with tight-fitting goggles. Luckily, many high-quality eye protection products offer anti-fogging lenses to ensure constant clear vision.
  • Durability. Sports glasses and goggles made with polycarbonate are tough enough to handle falls and collisions without breaking or shattering.
  • Lens Options. Just like eyeglasses, sunglasses and goggles are available with different lens options. Choose polarized lenses to reduce glare or select yellow-tinted lenses to improve contrast on cloudy days.

Looking for another way to boost your winter sports performance? Vision therapy can help enhance contrast sensitivity (your ability to see objects against the snow), improve reaction time, or make it easier to keep track of trees or opponents in your peripheral vision. Contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye examination with the vision therapist.

Sources:

Eye & Contact Lens: Ultraviolet Radiation as a Risk Factor Cataract and Macular Degeneration, 7/2011

https://journals.lww.com/claojournal/Abstract/2011/07000/Ultraviolet_Radiation_as_a_Risk_Factor_for.11.aspx

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses, 6/10/2021

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/sunglasses-3

All About Vision: Eye Protection for Sports: How to Choose Sports Goggles, 2/27/2019

https://www.allaboutvision.com/sports/protection.htm

American Academy of Ophthalmology: What is Photokeratitis - Including Snow Blindness, 5/6/2022

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/photokeratitis-snow-blindness

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