Sunglasses in Winter: Why You Should Wear Them

Sunglasses in Winter: Why You Should Wear Them

Scarf? Check. Beanie? Check. Sunglasses? Che…. hang on, why would I be grabbing my sunnies on a cold winter’s day?

When the days get colder and darker during the winter months, it’s understandable that you might not automatically reach for your fave pair of sunglasses when you’re heading out the door. But just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that your sunglasses should be relegated to the bench until the sunny days come back.

Sunglasses provide the ultimate protection from not only the brightness of the sun, but the harsh winter elements. So, just like you wouldn’t leave the house without a warm jacket when it’s cold out, find out why you shouldn’t leave the house without your sunglasses as well.

Why sunglasses should be your favourite winter accessory

Wearing sunglasses during sunny summer days is a no brainer for most Aussies. The sun is bright, we’re spending more time outside and we know that the sun’s UV rays can wreak havoc for our eye health.

In fact, according to a study about Australian’s eyewear habits, 79% of Australian’s wear sunglasses all or most of the time when they are outdoors on a sunny day. However, this number drops down significantly – to only 41%  – when people are outside on overcast or cloudy day.

While it might be counterintuitive to reach for your sunglasses on an overcast day, there are lots of reasons to be wearing your sunglasses all year long.

winter blue sky sunglasses

1. UV Rays are always around

Chances are you know a bit about ultraviolet rays (UV) – they are a form of electromagnetic radiation that mainly comes from the sun. While there are three types of UV rays – UVA, UVB, UVC – however, when it comes to our eye and skin health, UVA and UVB rays are the ones that can affect us the most.

UV rays can cause:

  • Skin cells to age faster
  • Sunburn
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Corneal sunburn
  • Macular degeneration

Now, while it may be obvious that UV rays are a risk during those long sunny days, did you know that even though the sun sits lower in the sky during winter the UV rays are just as intense? And in some circumstances, the risk of exposure to those UV rays is actually higher.

You see, with winter comes rain, wetter surfaces, and in some places, snow, and ice. The sun’s rays happily bounce off these surfaces which can double our exposure to UV rays. So, with this increased chance of exposure to sunlight, it’s just as important to wear your sunglasses in winter as it is in summer.

2. Wearing sunglasses reduces glare

With the sun’s rays bouncing off wet and icy surfaces in winter, not only does it increase your chances of exposure to UV rays, but it also causes glare. Glare is the intense light that can impact your ability to see properly in lots of different situations.

During winter, glare is at its worst.  The sun is lower in the sky and the angle it hits the earth makes its reflection even brighter than during the sunny months. And with wet and icy surfaces being more prevalent during this time, there are even more places for this light to bounce off.

You probably notice glare the most when you’re driving, however it can affect you when you’re walking, using computers near windows, when you’re at the snow, and in lots of other situations.

When you wear sunglasses, you can significantly reduce this glare and make it easier for you to see, which can help reduce eye strain – which coincidentally, is what we’re going to talk about next.

3. Reduce eyestrain by not making your eyes work so hard

Your eyes do a lot of hard work at all times. As lighting changes from bright to dark, your pupils automatically constrict or dilate, respectively.  They try to make it as comfortable as possible by adjusting to the brightness level, however, when you’re in super bright, or very dim lighting, this can cause eye strain.

And while overcast and cloudy days may not appear as bright, the higher prevalence of UV rays bouncing off wet surfaces actually increases the amount of light your eyes are exposed to, causing your eyes to work overtime.

But it’s not just your pupils that are working hard, your retinas – which are in the back of the eyes – are also very sensitive to light.  If your pupils can’t constrict enough to lower this exposure to bright lights, which they try to do to protect your retinas and make it more comfortable to see, you might start squinting. Squinting leads to eyestrain and sometimes even headaches.

Sunglasses reduces the amount of work your pupils and retinas must do, which can make it significantly more comfortable for you to see in those brighter situations.

4. Protection from the elements

While summer brings sunny days and the occasional storm, during winter, there are some pretty harsh weather conditions at play.

Cold air and windy weather can wreak havoc on your eyes causing them to become dry and irritated. When the colder air hits our eyes, often they react by becoming watery. However, the cold air actually evaporates these tears which can cause them to become dryer than usual. This unpleasant cycle can cause irritation to the eyes and the sensitive skin around the eyes.

Along with causing dry eyes, winter wind and unpredictable weather can mean that your eyes need protection from debris and dust that is carried on the wind. When particles land in our eyes, it can cause scratches, damage to the function of our eyes, and more irritation.

Wearing sunglasses is a simple way to protect your eyes from the elements and potential debris.

How do I find the right winter sunnies?

sunglasses on girl in winter snow

While it might be pretty easy to see (no pun intended) that sunglasses are an absolute necessity in winter, there are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to finding the perfect winter sunglasses.

You see, with the huge variety of sunglasses out there, it can be difficult to know where to start when you’re looking to buy winter sunglasses. Luckily, we’ve got some tips and tricks to think about to help you find your ideal winter sunglasses.

1. Think about what you will be using your sunglasses for

Otis Young Blood Matte Black Blue Mirror (83-1901)

Otis Young Blood Matte Black Blue Mirror (83-1901)

The first thing to think about when searching for your ideal winter sunglasses is to have a think about what you will be using them for. Obviously, you want to protect your eyes from UV rays and possible damage, but are you looking for an everyday pair of sunglasses or do you do a lot of skiing, cycling and outdoor sports?

Many brands specialise in creating sunglasses that are suited for specific purposes, particularly for different types of sports. So, whether you’re looking for a pair to chuck on when you duck on down to the shops or some sick sunnies for when you’re shredding the ski slopes, it’s an important consideration when shopping for winter sunglasses.

2. High quality sunglasses mean high levels of protection

If you’re going to the effort of getting a pair of sunglasses, then you don’t want to compromise on protection, otherwise, what’s the point?

Many of the biggest sunglasses brands, like Ray Ban, Oakley, Arnette, Dragon, Serengeti and loads more, are known not only for their iconic styles but also for their use of the latest technological advances to ensure they are providing the highest levels of protection.

Most pairs of sunglasses from the leading brands come with 99% protection from UV rays as a bare minimum and that’s the way it should be. Make sure you choose a pair with the highest level of protection and do not compromise.

3. To polarise or not to polarise

Bolle Tigersnake Polarised Matte Black Brown Emerald (12132)

Bolle Tigersnake Polarised Matte Black Brown Emerald (12132)

You’ve probably heard of polarised sunglasses, but do you actually know what that means? While high quality sunglasses, whether they are polarised or not, will offer high levels of protection, when sunglasses are polarised, they can offer another level of protection.

Polarised sunglasses have lenses that are coated with a clear chemical film that helps to eliminate the harsh bright light more than standard sunglasses. When sunglasses aren’t polarised, they treat all sunlight equally and help to reduce the intensity of the light, therefore making sure that your eyes don’t work too hard and are protected. However, your eyes are even further protected when you wear polarised sunglasses. Polarised lenses prevent the UV rays from penetrating through the lenses to your eyes and eliminates a lot more of the bright light that can reflect off water, snow and even roads.

Polarised lenses are particularly great for watersports, such as fishing and boating. But even if you don’t take part in any water or snow-based sports, if you spend a lot of time driving or outdoors polarised lenses are definitely something to consider.

4. Size, shape, style and fit

While some styles of sunglasses are more fashion focused, when it comes to your protection, not all styles of sunglasses are created equal.

Small, framed sunglasses might offer a little protection to your eyes but can leave the delicate skin around your eyes unprotected from sun damage. Oversized sunglasses can offer more protection to the skin around your eyes but might not be as comfortable to wear.

Along with the style offering enough coverage, the fit of your sunglasses is super important when it comes to your protection. You want a pair that is lightweight and fits well, so that you’re comfortable while you wear them.

If you’re planning on using your sunglasses while you play sport, close fitting wrap-around styles with grips designed to help your sunglasses stay put might be the right option for you. No matter how you plan to use your sunglasses, with the endless styles out there, there will a high quality protective pair that is perfect for you.

5. Lens Colour

Oakley Holbrook XL Matte Black Prizm Ruby (9417-04)

Oakley Holbrook XL Matte Black Prizm Ruby (9417-04)

We talked about the benefits of polarised lenses, but that’s not the only thing to think about when it comes to your lenses specifically.

You can get a pair of sunglasses with lenses in pretty much any colour of the rainbow. And while you might think this has more to do with making a fashion statement, in most instances, the colour of your sunglasses lens has been chosen with a purpose in mind. Yellow lenses are great for use with computers and can also help improve clarity in foggy and low light conditions, blue lenses help to reduce glare and make it so much easier to see in snowy conditions, and brown or black lenses make great all-rounder sunglasses. So, besides making you look incredible, coloured lenses can do a lot of good for you!

You can learn more about the different coloured lenses and their benefits from this handy guide we’ve put together here.

Get jacked up with winter sunglasses at Great Southern Sunnies

So, now that you know sunglasses are so much more than a fashion accessory in winter, all that’s left to do is find your perfect pair of winter-friendly sunglasses.

You can shop the biggest sunglasses brands out there right here at Great Southern Sunnies. We offer a huge range of the latest styles from brands like Dragon, Oakley, Le Specs, Ray-Ban and so many others, at the hottest prices. And with free shipping for orders over $80 and AfterPay available for all orders, it couldn’t be easy to protect your peepers in winter!

Back to blog

Recently Viewed