When the temperature drops in autumn, it’s easy to think the sun isn’t as strong as it was during the summertime. This is verifiably untrue; the sun’s UV rays are just as powerful as they were but, in fact, they become more dangerous as people do away with their sunglasses and hats in favour of scarves and fall jackets. When the sun is low in the sky, direct sunlight into our eyes increases dramatically, which means that people are at a higher risk of developing cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. Furthermore, Ottawa tends to see plenty of bright white snow in the late fall, which puts its citizens at further danger of eye-related injuries. This is due to the fact that snow and ice reflect sunlight, causing our pupils to contract. Less light reaches the retina and our eyes strain, eventually leading to snow-blindness. 

Here are three essential ways you can protect your eyes from UV light in autumn.

Wear Sunglasses

Even on cloudy days, you should wear sunglasses. UV rays pierce through clouds and can damage your eyes. Find sunglasses with 100% UV or UV400 protection. Even better, look for those that block both UV-A and UV-B rays. For those who wear glasses, check to see if your lenses provide UV-blocking options. If so, order prescription glasses with built-in UV protection.

Wear an Appropriate Hat

Broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses may feel like a “summer” look to some and out of place as the seasons change. However, they offer the best protection against UV-A and UV-B rays. A ballcap can be a reasonable alternative to a sunhat, in a pinch. Whatever hat you choose to wear as the weather changes, make sure that it provides sufficient shade from the sun. You might prefer to avoid darker colours as they attract more heat.

The Shadow Rule

Your brow bone is a built-in defense against the sun and is most effective when the sun is at its highest altitude. During midday, you have some natural protection already formed by your body. However, when the sun is near the horizon, you’re more at risk of UV exposure because you’ve lost that brow bone protection. The Shadow Rule is when your shadow elongates until it’s taller than you. Shadows always grow when the sun is closer to the horizon, and when your shadow is taller than you, you no longer have adequate protection. 

Want to protect your eyes in the autumn? Laurier Optical has a wide array of high-quality name-brand sunglasses with built-in UV protection to block out harmful rays. Contact us today for more information or to book an eye exam

Article has been reviewed by an Optometrist.