Your life and eyes 2 min read

How to protect your vision on the slopes

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The winter season is here which means many things, including the chance to go on a skiing or snowboarding holiday! Across Europe it is the perfect time to hit the slopes, but as with any sport or activity, it’s important to keep safe and avoid injuries or accidents.

Whether you are experienced or it’s your first time on a pair of skis, staying safe doesn’t just include making it down the mountain in one piece. There are other aspects to consider, including the sun. It may be winter, but the bright sunshine can still cause damage to your eyesight if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

What’s more, having clear and sharp vision is also crucial in keeping yourself and others safe as well as being comfortable doing what you love to do.

Vision problems on the slopes

You may associate bright light and sunshine with your summer holidays, but winter sun can be just as damaging. Overexposure to UV light can be detrimental to your eye health, and even though UV rays can be weaker in the winter, it can still have a negative impact on your vision and eye health.

Sunlight can also reflect off of the snow’s surface which can result in glare, making your skiing or snowboarding experience somewhat discomforting and your vision can be compromised. Glare is common when light reflects off of a horizontal surface, such as snow, and concentrates horizontally which results in blinding glare making it difficult to see.

Another vision problem that may occur on the slopes is snow blindness. This is also known as photokeratitis, which is a painful condition that can include temporary vision loss. This usually happens due to overexposure to the sun’s rays without the right protection, but it can also happen from the sun reflecting off of the snow’s surface.

The symptoms are usually only noticeable when it is too late and the damage has been done.

Wearing the right lenses on the slopes

You can combat vision problems like glare and photokeratitis by taking the right steps to protect your eyes. The easiest way to do this is by wearing the right lenses to reduce the effects of bright light and UV rays on your vision.

Man holding skis looking into the distance through his polarised UV protective sunglasses

The best known solution to reduce glare are polarised lenses. This type of lens is created with a unique filter that blocks out blinding glare, by only allowing vertical light through in order to create more comfortable vision and enhanced colour perception. You should also ensure that your lenses provide optimal UV protection.

It is also important that you are able to see clearly as you navigate past other skiers and snowboarders, as well as spotting obstacles like moguls and flags. If you need varifocal lenses or single vision lenses in order to facilitate clear vision, consider the type of frame that is best suited to the sport.

Varilux SunMax lenses are perfectly optimised for sports, with the ability to be combined with wrap-around sports sunglasses. This snug style will stay in place as you enjoy yourself on the slopes, with optimal protection from sunlight.

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