Harmful UV rays don’t go away during winter. The sun can still damage your skin and eyes, increasing your risk of cancer and other conditions. In this post, San Jose LASIK doctor, Mark Mandel, M.D., discusses why you still need UV protection in the winter.
Why Winter UV Protection Is Important
Because you probably aren’t thinking about sun protection during the winter, you may be vulnerable to UV damage if you participate in winter sports. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV rays. In addition, UV radiation increases with altitude, and some damaging rays can also penetrate through clouds. This means that even on cloudy days, UV rays could be damaging your skin and eyes while you’re hitting the slopes.
Long-Term Effects of UV Exposure
Even if you’re bundled up in your winter gear, the parts of your face and body that are uncovered are still susceptible to UV damage. The majority of skin cancers occur around the face, head and neck. The lips and eyelids are particularly vulnerable; skin cancers on the eyelids account for 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers. Vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration have also been linked to long-term UV exposure.
Proper Sun Protection during the Winter
Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from UV rays during the winter:
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Be sure to cover spots that are often missed, such as the lips, ears and around the eyes.
- Cover your head to protect your scalp and keep warm.
- Get sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Wraparound sunglasses or goggles are best for protecting the eyes, eyelids and surrounding area.
Talk to Your Eye Doctor
To keep your eyes healthy and protected, schedule an appointment with your optometrist. Seeing your doctor regularly can help you spot eye health issues early and take steps to prevent the development of serious eye diseases. To talk with an eye surgeon who has experience correcting several types of vision problems, schedule a visit with Mark Mandel, M.D., by calling 877-210-2020 ext. 3.