With the arrival of winter and with it, the long-awaited arrival of snow, we all want to go skiing, take walks in the mountains, and activities related to outdoor sports. The normal thing is to think that the fundamental use of sunglasses It is during the summer season, because there is more sun and therefore more solar radiation, but despite the fact that we cannot see it, exposure to UV radiation is daily, even with cloudy skies or when temperatures drop. However, in winter there are many factors at play that can seriously damage our eye health, such as unprotected exposure to UV radiation, cold winds, and bright reflections from snow. The important thing about this is to know that under no circumstances can we endanger our vision by practicing these sports activities. Exposing the snow with our eyes can become enemies for our eyes if we do not take the necessary protection measures.
It is Dr. Juan Carlos Martínez Moral, also president of the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists (CGCOO), who advises the use of approved sunglasses to prevent solar keratitis. It points out that wearing sunglasses of proven optical quality, purchased in optical health establishments or authentic sunglasses stores, help to preserve good eye and visual health, thereby avoiding inflammation of the cornea. Snow reflects approximately 80% of sunlight, a figure much higher than sand that does between 10 and 25%, so protection must be maximum and always guaranteed with quality products.
What is keratitis?
Keratitis is defined as an inflammation of the cornea that can be caused by multiple physical and organic agents, such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation during skiing or mountaineering. In solar keratitis, the symptoms usually affect both eyes and do not appear after exposure to light, but after a few hours. Its characteristic symptoms are pain, red eye, watery eyes and difficulty opening the eyes due to intolerance to light and it appears mainly due to sun exposure while skiing.
What damage does keratitis cause and how do I protect it with polarized sunglasses?
It is worth mentioning that the damage produced by excess sun exposure is cumulative. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable, as their visual systems are in the process of maturing. And is that snow reflects about 80% of sunlight, while sand reflects between 10% and 25% and water 20%. Altitude is added to this reflective effect, since for every 1.000 meters the proportion of ultraviolet rays in sunlight increases by 10%. Therefore, when we go skiing our eyes are very exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays and their possible side effects such as solar keratitis. For this reason, it is very important to know what to do if our exposure to light reflected by snow has damaged our vision. In the ophthalmological examination, diffuse punctate lesions are observed in the outermost layer of the cornea, the epithelium.
With proper treatment the lesions close in one or two days. People who wear contact lenses should remove them as soon as possible and consult an ophthalmologist before restarting their use. That is why we must have some sunglassessuitable so that this type of thing does not happen!
How to prevent suffering from keratitis or any type of damage to our eyes?
For this, the use of good protection with suitable sunglasses is very important. This is essential to preserve our visual health in the snow. It is essential to know that if sunglasses that you are using are not made of glass or organic they will not be worth anything. Low-quality polymer (plastic) sunglasses can even let UV rays through despite appearing very dark, and over time they can warp and cause optical aberrations, eye discomfort, or headaches. Despite the fact that non-approved or low-quality glasses are cheaper, we must bear in mind that they are sold in non-specialized places and do not adequately protect from solar radiation. When skiing, it is always advisable to use glasses that minimize glare, since they eliminate reflections from certain angles of surfaces such as water, snow or sand.
Likewise, we must bear in mind that in high altitude places, the air is much thinner, which generates more ultraviolet radiation in the atmosphere. Specifically, UV radiation increases 3% for every 400 meters of height. And if we add a reflective medium such as snow on top, the risk of prolonged exposure to this radiation doubles while we practice any snow sport. This is why it is essential that you use sunglasses suitable or masks that protect your eyes from almost 80% of the UV radiation that is reflected in the snow.
How to know that our sunglasses protect us from snow?
1. The first thing to do is to check the label and choose the ones that ensure 100% UV protection. If they are not marked with this specification, it is best to discard them and keep looking, we must have glasses that are truly going to fulfill the function we are looking for!
2. Another factor to consider is the category of the lens. The lenses are cataloged from 0 to 4, with 4 being the default category for areas where the incidence of the sun is extreme and constant and where there is a very high light reflection on surfaces (snow and water). When the day is not going to be completely sunny every hour, the category of the lens may be from
3. Finally, you can also choose those models with a filter polarlifter, as this filter absorbs the reflection that occurs on metal surfaces, glass, water or snow. The sunglasses polarhoistedthey will always offer us a plus in terms of safeguarding our eyes! The reason for this is that they minimize glare and eliminate reflections from certain surface angles such as snow.
We must bear in mind that both our skin and our eyes are always organs exposed to the direct action of the weather that we encounter, especially if we are in the mountains and we are surrounded by snow. In the same way, we must protect them from radiation always using quality products that help us fulfill that protective function that we are looking for.
En The Indian Face®, we have a wide catalog of sunglasses polarhoisted that will help you protect your eyes in any activity you do outdoors, especially in snow sports!