Should you wear sunglasses during winter months?

Should you protect your eyes during the winter months like you do during the summer months?

That was the topic for Friday TMs Facebook Story of the Day.

The answer? Yes.

In fact, it is every bit as important in the winter time especially when there is snow on the ground.

You actually have double UV exposure during the winter months, said Dr. Ronald Brand with International Eye Care in Kirksville. The snow acts like a mirror and reflects up into your eyes and that can cause snow blindness.

So when it comes to the lens, is there a certain type you should wear to better protect your eyes from the sun?

Dr. Brand usually recommends polarized lenses to his patients. Not only does it shield your eyes from the light, it also reduces the reflection.

When it comes to expensive sunglasses compared to cheap ones, which one provides better protect.

Dr. Brand recommends looking at the lenses rather than the brand on the frames, but sometimes higher-end glasses do provide better quality of protection.

I would say the biggest thing between the $2 sunglasses and the better ones is the ophthalmic ground lens, rather than something stamped on the piece of plastic which you might find on cheaper sunglasses, Dr. Brand said. And the optic quality and comfort of wearing an ophthalmic lens is going to be superior, and I think people can't really appreciate that difference until they've seen it.

For people that wear transitional glasses, Dr. Brand says your eyes are protected to an extent.

They are UV blocked so they are great for that. They change by the sun, so if you TMre outside they TMre great, if you TMre in and out they are great, said Dr. Brand. But, a lot of people buy them thinking they TMre going to change behind the windshield of the car and they won TMt. The windshield blocks the light that changes the lens so they don TMt get very dark.

Dr. Brand recommends wearing sunglasses whenever you are outside, because overtime too much exposure to the sun will damage your eye.

First, it can damage your cornea, said Dr. Brand. More long term is where the lens of the eye develops a cataract. Everybody gets cataracts eventually later in life, it TMs an aging process, but it accelerates if you have a lot of sun exposure.

So what are some other ways to protect your eyes during the year?

Wearing a hat can help protect your eyes by blocking the sun by keeping your eyes shaded from the sun, said Dr. Brand. Also, dry air tends to evaporate our tears so we sometimes need to supplement that with eye drops, but the best thing to do is to make sure to wear sunglasses whenever possible.