Yes, Optometrists Say You Should be Wearing Sunglasses All Year Round—These are the Best UV Blocking Shades

Photo: Getty/Halfpoint Images
Sunglasses are just for the summer sun, right? Wrong. According to Former president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Andrea Thau, OD, sunglasses are just as, if not more, important during the colder months because glare is actually worse when the sun is lower in the horizon. Even on cloudy or overcast days, 80 percent of the UV rays are still coming through.

Though the UV Index may be lower, when it snows, is icy, or is wet, the rays are harshly reflected back into our eyes like a mirror. According to the Mayo Clinic, wearing a pair of stylish sunnies (ideally polarized ones!) from November through March can help reduce that eye strain, winter glare, snow blindness, and vision-related headaches. They are also vital in keeping you safe by limiting distractions, increasing focus, and preventing particles from blowing into your eyes due to harsh winter winds. On top of all that, they also protect the delicate skin around the eyes, thus preventing fine lines.

All that said, despite warnings, research from the AOA’s 2018 American Eye-Q survey, found that though 84 percent of Americans are weary of UV safety, only 28 percent actually wear sunglasses when they go out. Dr. Thau explains that, when shopping for sunglasses, "no matter the season or the location, the AOA recommends wearing high-quality sunglasses that adequately protect the eyes by blocking out 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays and screening out 75 to 90 percent of visible light."

Scroll down for the best picks for some seriously protective winter shades.

1. Oakley Side Swept Sunglasses, $206

best winter sunglasses
Photo: Oakley

These style-forward shades do not make any sacrifices in the name of fashion. With 100 percent UV protection, the brown gradient polarized lenses filter out all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400mm. They also help to reduce glare and enhance vision. These are great every day lenses, and are also comfortable enough to wear during long snowy days on the slopes.

Shop now: Oakley Side Swept Sunglasses, $206

2. AMAVII Capella Sunglasses, $295

Looking for a total BOGO deal? These sunnies are a great, convenient solution to the ever-wondered, "What do I do if I need sunglasses outside and prescription lenses all the time?" They're both in one. With their Patented Caesar-Flip™ Lens technology, these glasses are the perfect solution for driving. As an added bonus, they also serve major Top Gun vibes.

Shop now: AMAVII Capella Sunglasses, $295

3. Ray Ban Jack Polarized Sunglasses, $204

best winter sunglasses
Photo: Ray Ban

Ray Ban has ruled the sunglasses game since the 1930s, so it would be remiss not to include one of their iconic pairs. If you're looking for UV protection with a little bit of edge, the Jack lenses are just the ticket. The solid color, polarized lenses help reduce the brightness of shiny surfaces like large bodies of water or snow, thus improving visual clarity and reducing eye strain.

Shop now: Ray Ban Jack Polarized Sunglasses, $204

4. Look Optic Laurel Sunglasses, $88

best winter sunglasses
Photo: Look Optic

With four core shades and three limited edition colors, these funky sunnies are modeled after the brand's iconic readers, making their lightweight comfort very tried and tested. They come both with and without prescription lenses, but either way, the 100% UV protection is sure to keep your eyeballs happy and healthy.

Shop now: Look Optic Laurel Sunglasses, $88

5. AOX Eyewear Amalia Sunglasses, $120

best winter sunglasses
Photo: AOX Eyewear

By using recycling all unused materials into the next production batches and reducing waste, AOX is bringing sustainability into sun protection. This vintage style is the perfect, go with everything pair, that you'll want to wear no matter the season.

Shop now: AOX Eyewear Amalia Sunglasses, $120

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