The other day my friend in Toronto sent me a photo of a pair of sunglasses she had tried on, wanting my opinion. Yes, it's now November, but neither of us thought anything odd of buying an accessory meant for sunny weather at this time. And the city can get more than its share of 5-foot-high drift-making blizzards and white-outs. So why no second thoughts? Well, I'll let you in on a secret: there is sun all year round. Yes, it's true. And it can actually be more harmful in winter than in summer with regards to our eyes.
Met Office warns that diffused UV rays reflected off of the snow can mean that whilst participating in winter sports you are subjecting your eyes to twice as much UV light. They advise us to wear polarised sunglasses or goggles to reduce the amount of UV light reflected by the snow reaching and damaging the eye.
But it doesn't snow all that much in the UK, does it? (Let's forget about those two winters of recent memory that shut down the country.) And it's gloomy probably half the time. However, it might come as a surprise to hear that up to 80% of the sun's UV rays penetrate light clouds, so even if it's cloudy it's important to protect ourselves.
Well, I'm already on it. I wear sunglasses year-round, even on most rainy days, because I have very sensitive eyes prone to squinting, and they tend to water even when it's gloomy (proof of those rays getting through). And thanks to my ever-present sunnies, I have, countless times, been stared at as if something insane is sitting on my face. I have even been asked if I "have a black eye under there?" (That was a serious question). And more commonly I get "Crazy night last night?" Yes, I'm hung over. Always.
And if you're concerned about aging (who isn't?), sunglasses will protect the delicate area around the eye which should help avoid visible premature aging. There's a reason SPF is recommended year-round.
If eye health isn't your concern, well, sunglasses are just cool. Don't you always feel pulled together and well-styled wearing your favourite pair? For some, that's reason enough.
To get you thinking about a pair for winter style with a high level of UV protection, the new range of Tag Heuer sunglasses from SunglassesRUs offers something different. Reflex Original sunglasses are the first in the world to offer hingeless design, with special elastomers on the titanium temples to ensure comfort as it adapts to your movements, while keeping the glasses in place. (I need this. Mine slip off my nose constantly but I haven't abandoned them because of their cost; I have a rule that anything pricey doesn't get replaced for at least three years and I've got one more to to go. Next time I will be sure of the fit before committing.) Back to the Tags. The sunlenses are also aerodynamic and offer optimised UV protection, and unlike most sunglasses, they also feature adjustable end tips and nose pads that conform to your shape, so you get a customised fit.
There's yet another benefit to wearing sunglasses at a time where the non-believers would least expect it. When it's snowing. See how this guy below is able to still look cool and collected while he walks about in flurries? Those shades aren't just sitting pretty for fashion, they are serving their owner by deflecting those seemingly innocent, fluffy lakes from landing in hostile, wet clusters in his eyeballs. If he wasn't wearing them, he'd be shuffling down the street dodging snowflakes, all squinty and awkward and the day would just be blown. And for women, wearing mascara, I don't even need to tell you how invaluable these deceptively heroic guardians of beauty really are. They'll keep you from looking like this.
So let's all take care of our precious eyes by having good UV protection shades as part of our essential outdoor kit, whatever the season. If you do, it will really help me out. I'm tired of getting weird looks!