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According to OD Stephen Mazur from Nowlan and Moore, sunlight protection is much more important in winter because of what meets the eye.

Nowlan and Moore's optometrist Stephen Mazur recommends that everyone wear sunglasses when outside around this time of year. 

Mazur explains,"more sun damage is done in the winter than in the summer. The UV light from the sun, the wavelength that actually damages the eyes, reflects off of the snow. You don't get that in the summer. That's where the term 'snowblindness' comes from."

Sun blindness occurs when do not have protection and you get a sunburn on your cornea (the front part of your eye).

"You end up with a painful and swollen eye. UV protection is a must."

In order to protect your eyes from sun blindness, it is important that you have the proper eyewear. Dr. Stephen Mazur notes that your average pair of glasses at the gas station might not be enough.

"You want to make sure if you're going to buy any sunglasses that it has a UV protection sticker on it. The misconception people have about sunglasses is the dark tint is what protects you. It's not the dark tint, it's the clear coat. If you have tinted glasses with no clear coding, it actually makes the problem worse. The dark tint makes your eye dilate bigger which allows more UV rays to do more damage."

If you ever do end up getting sun blindness in one or both of your eyes, thankfully there is treatment.

He says, "If you do get snow blindness, come in to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for a treatment with anti-inflammatory drops and go from there.It's like burning your hand on the stove, just don't burn your hand in the first place."

Vet with dogDr. Ingrid Sproll of WinRose Animal Hospital

On the other hand, local expert and veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Sproll says your dog doesn't typically need any eye protection during this time of year. 

"We don't tend to see eye damage in dogs when it comes to the sun reflecting from the snow. There are certain eye conditions that can make animals sensitive to sunlight. If your dog has a previously diagnosed condition, then we would recommend ordering 'doggles' on a case-by-case basis."

If your dog has ageing cataracts, you don't need to be worried either. Dr. Ingrid Sproll explains,"cataracts in dogs wouldn't be a problem because it actually blocks the retina due to lens opacity. A dog with cataracts would actually be less sensitive to light."

However, should you find that your dog is squinting often, Sproll says, "if owners find that their dog is sensitive to the light from snow, I would recommend 'doggles' to them as well."

 

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