By Denis Langlois

Most Canadians remember to cover up their ears, fingers and toes on those nippy winter days.

But vision experts say it’s also extremely important to ensure the eyes are protected from often-harsh winter conditions, whether on the slopes, trails, outdoor skating rinks or simply enjoying a stroll or building a snowman outdoors.

Even when temperatures drop below freezing and the sun is covered by clouds, the eyes are at risk of being damaged by ultraviolet rays from the sun which bounce off snow and ice.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists says overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a multitude of problems like cataracts, degeneration of the retina and damage to the cornea.

The association says people should also protect their eyes from excessive wind exposure in winter, which can irritate the eyes and lead to permanent yellow discolouration, as well as the dry conditions that are intensified in the colder months of the year.

Here are some products that are ideal for protecting the eyes on Canadian winter days.



Bolle Blacktail sunglasses are great for blustery winter days as their wraparound design protects the eyes from the winter elements. These shades feature B-Flow venting technology to prevent moisture build up and fogging. On top of that, all polarized lenses from Bolle come with anti-fog coatings on the inside of the lens and hydrophobic/oleophobic treatments on the outside so the lenses never smudge or fog up. Blacktail sunglass lenses are also light reactive, so the tint adjusts to lighting conditions. >>



For the slopes, Smith Optics, a Safilo Group company, has improved its I/O goggles for the winter 2016/17 season. The goggles now feature a wider field of view, a new intuitive frame fit and updated styling while maintaining the quickrelease lens-change system. The addition of proprietary 5X anti-fog technology and TLT Optics optimizes increased optical acuity and contrast sensitivity for crystal clear vision, while the patented Porex filter equalizes atmospheric pressure to prevent optical distortion during changes in elevation. The goggles offer ChromaPop lens technology for enhancing visual clarity, providing greater definition and recognizing natural colour. >>



The Rover by SPY is the perfect sunglass for tackling any Canadian winter adventure, according to WestGroupe. Featuring the patented SPY Happy Lens — a colour contrast-enhancing lens technology that studies suggest creates an uplift in mood and alertness — the Rover is made from virtually indestructible Grilamid and comes equipped with Hytrel temple tips to ensure a snug fit during any activity. Polarized options are also available, which is crucial for deflecting the intense glare. >>



Onesun sunglasses are the perfect accessory year round. These RX-able sunglasses are 100% polarized, providing protection against harmful UV rays. Also featuring a backside anti-reflective coating, these sunglasses cut down on glare, improve clarity and look good doing it. >>