With snow falling and slopes beckoning, are you also sensitive to eye safety while skiing or snowboarding? Winter eye protection is just as important as summer eye protection, and winter sports goggles are often even more stylish than summer sports goggles. We will break down the various types of snow goggles below.
Before looking at goggles themselves, why bother with eye protection while participating in downhill winter sports? First, since you are outside, UV protection is very important. If you are skiing or snowboarding at a high altitude, it becomes even more important to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, as there is less atmosphere to block the UV rays. Second, skiers and snowboarders are often going at a good clip down the slopes, as well as coming relatively close to trees. Speed mixed with obstacles often result in injury, and eye protection prevents eye injuries, such as twigs to the eye or a knock to the eyes by a ski pole while falling. As an added bonus, snow goggles also help skiers and snowboarders to see better since cold air and snow are not flying into their eyes and causing them to squint.
What to look for in Winter Googles
The wrong kind of goggles can, however, cause injury, rather than prevent injury. When looking to purchase a pair of goggles for your next ski trip, look for goggles that have polycarbonate lenses, not plastic or glass, which can shatter on a fall and pierce your eyes. Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant, plus they do not fog up as easily as other types of lenses. You can wear prescription lenses behind the polycarbonate lenses if the goggles allow, but if possible, try to use polycarbonate prescription lenses, as well, for the most impact resistance.
Look for goggles that have 100% UV protection, as well as polarized lenses. The UV protection keeps harmful UV rays (which are usually stronger on the slopes) from your eyes, while polarization absorbs glare from the snow surrounding you, helping you to see better. One lens category you will have to choose from is color. Tinted lenses work like sunglasses, while clear lenses are better for skiing or snowboarding at night. Among tinted lenses, you can choose typical brown or gray sun lenses; rose-colored lenses, which are helpful in overcast conditions (such as if you ski on a mountain that tends to be cloudy); or yellow lenses, which improve contrast in low light. You can even get photochromatic lenses, which change shades depending on light conditions. Some goggles also have magnetic or snap-in lenses that you can carry in your pocket and put on over the goggles’ built-in lens if light conditions change
If you have to wear prescription eyewear, several options are available to you. You can wear some goggles over your eyeglasses. Make sure that you have an anti-fog coating on your eyeglasses’ lens, since this creates a fog-conducive environment inside the goggles. Also be sure that the goggles have good ventilation, as this will help reduce fogging. Another option is to get goggles that allow a snap-in prescription lens behind the goggles’ lens. And a third option is to buy a pair of goggles that has a built-in prescription lens. By purchasing a pair of snow goggles before you hit the slopes, you are investing in the safety and health of your eyes.