Glasses and winter sports: our tips

Don’t hit the slopes without your glasses

You’ve got your snowsuit, skis, sunscreen, mittens, and lip balm… But what about your glasses? And we don’t mean just a regular pair of sunglasses. To keep your eyes healthy, you’ll need a pair of glasses meant for winter sports. Here’s why.

They act as a barrier against toxic particles

When you race down snowy slopes with the wind whipping your face, you’re also running into a multitude of foreign bodies that will quickly lodge themselves in any exposed cavities, your eyes included. If you’re not properly equipped, these particles can cause eye irritations, watery eyes, or worse, conjunctivitis, all of which will obstruct your view. The risk of a winter sport-related accidents greatly increases when you aren’t wearing protective eyewear. A mask is ideal, but you can also opt for wide-framed glasses with an adjustable strap.

They protect you against ultra-violent UV rays

UV rays are much more intense in winter, especially on the slopes, because radiation is magnified by snow and altitude. When sunlight reflects off snow, its radiation increases by 90%, which in turn increases the likelihood of an eye condition called “snow blindness”. This is essentially a superficial sunburn of the eye caused by excessive exposure to UV rays. Snow blindness impairs your vision and can be agonizing depending on the degree of the burns. They can also affect your ability to visually transition from dark to brightly lit spaces. The condition usually clears up within two to three days, but in more serious cases, they can alter or permanently damage the outer layer of the cornea, making the eye hypersensitive to light.

Kids are at greater risk

Children’s eyes are more fragile than those of adults: their pupils are larger and less pigmented. As a result, UV rays can more easily penetrate the retina. Before the age of one, the eyes absorb 90% of UVA and 25% of UVB rays. Your kids’ eyes should thus be protected anytime they’re outdoors, no matter the activity. We strongly recommend wearing a mask, which will completely cover the eyes and is shock-resistant.

The equipment you need

  • If you have vision issues: choose a mask under which you can wear your contact lenses OR opt for prescription sunglasses with a good UV filter.
  • In any event, make sure you wear winter sport-adapted shock-resistant sunglasses with an adjustable strap for increased protection against UV rays.
  • To stay comfortable, choose lightweight frames that contour your face.

The Julbo brand, among others, offers glasses that are specifically designed for winter sports. Visit your nearest Opto-Réseau optometrist to find the pair that is best-suited to you and to learn more about protecting your eyes.