Why You Should Wear Sunglasses in the Winter

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses in the Winter

Wearing sunglasses in the summer when the sun is at its brightest makes sense. But did you know you should wear sunglasses in the winter too? Even on overcast days? That’s right. You need to protect your eyes with sunglasses 365 days a year.

U.V. Rays

The sun emits U.V. rays all of the time, even when it’s cloudy. U.V. rays are a type of radiation. They’re strongest on a clear summer day but also around on a dreary wintry day. We’ve known for many years that U.V. rays cause damage to the skin, which can lead to premature aging and even cancer. That’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen during outdoor activities. Now we’re learning that U.V. rays have the same harmful effect on the eyes.

Eye Damage

Every part of the eye is susceptible to damage from U.V. rays. Macular degeneration, cataracts, and damage to the cornea can all result from too much sun exposure. Cancer in and around the eyes is another risk. U.V. rays can also damage the eyelids and lead to wrinkles and even dry eye syndrome. A pair of sunglasses with U.V. protection can help prevent adverse effects from sun exposure.

Snow Blindness

In the winter, snow blindness is another way U.V. rays damage the eyes. All that beautiful white snow and shiny ice act like a mirror, reflecting sunlight and U.V. rays back into your eyes. This can give your eyes a sunburn which leads to temporary snow blindness. Symptoms of snow blindness include sensitivity to light, burning eyes, a gritty feeling in the eyes, halos around lights, and blurry vision. It can last up to a week, but long-term could lead to permanent vision loss. UV-blocking sunglasses can prevent snow blindness.

Glare

Glare is another problem that’s common in winter. The sun’s low angle at that time of year makes glare worse. Sun glare is dangerous because it can prevent you from being able to see. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says about 9,000 car accidents a year result from drivers blinded by the glare. Glare is also dangerous on ski slopes and can lead to serious injury. Polarized sunglasses reduce the effects of glare, helping you see clearly in any situation.

Wind

The wind picks up in the winter, especially in Northern Michigan near Lake Michigan. The cold winter wind dries your eyes out quickly. Contact lens wearers especially need to protect their eyes from drying out. Wind can also blow dirt and other debris into your eyes. Sunglasses block the wind and keep eyes comfortable.

Distorted Vision

Sunglasses will also help you see better in general in the winter months. Light-reflecting off the snow, glare, the lower angle of the sun, and wind cause you to squint. It can also cause your eyes to water. That means you can’t see clearly, which can lead to accidents. Squinting can also cause eye strain and headaches. The right pair of sunglasses will ensure you have a healthy, clear view in the winter.

If you want to ensure your eyes are comfortable and protected this winter, stop by the Sunglass Shoppe, and we’ll help you find the right sunglasses to fit your personality and lifestyle.

The Five Best Things to Do Near Petoskey in the Fall

The Five Best Things to Do Near Petoskey in the Fall

It’s fall in Northern Michigan, and we don’t think there’s a better place to enjoy sweater weather than the Petoskey area! Here are five of the best things to do near Petoskey in the fall.

The Tunnel of Trees

The Tunnel of Trees is just North of Petoskey on M-119. This famous road twists and turns along a route covered by a thick tree canopy. It’s beautiful any time of year, but especially spectacular when leaves change color in the fall. It also offers amazing views of Lake Michigan. A section of the road follows a ridge, rising high above the lake and Little Traverse Bay. The route takes you through the lakeshore town of Harbor Springs, where you’ll find unique places to shop. Keep heading north, and you’ll come to Pond Hill Farm. They have a vineyard and wine-tasting room as well as a family-friendly cafe. Pumpkins and gourds are available at the farm market. Further, up the road, you’ll come to the 1930s-era Good Hart General Store. Shop for souvenirs, and be sure to grab a treat from their much-loved bakery. M-119 ends at Cross Village, the site of one of Michigan’s earliest settlements. Stop at Cross Village Park for a stroll along the beach.

Take a Wine Tour

Northern Michigan is home to one of the unique wine regions in the country. The cold winters and proximity to Lake Michigan create an unusual climate that allows them to produce wines from specially cultivated cold-hardy grapes. They also produce various fruit wines from the abundant orchards that thrive along the lakeshore. There are several wineries just outside Petoskey. Enjoy a fall day in the Michigan countryside, taking in the colors and visiting the local tasting rooms to sample wines you won’t find anywhere else. Many of the wineries offer food and live entertainment as well. Visit petoskey.wine to find out more.

Boyne Mountain Resort

In the winter Boyne Moutain Resort is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. But there’s a lot to do in the fall too. With acres of forest and hills, it’s a great place to take in the beauty of fall in Northern Michigan. The scenic chairlift ride gives you a panoramic view of the valley and the stunning fall foliage. The more adventurous can zipline through the tree canopy and across the ski slopes. Brand new to Boyne this year is Skybride Michigan. The World’s longest-timbered suspension bridge that spans 1,200 feet across the valley. You’ll ride a ski lift to access the 118-foot-high bridge, with even more incredible views of the fall landscape.

Petoskey Gaslight District

The historic Gaslight District is a charming shopping and dining area in downtown Petoskey. Named one of the Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine, it’s a wonderful place to spend a fall day. Enjoy the colorful trees and crisp air while strolling from shop to shop. With many unique stores and boutiques, you’re sure to find something special to take home for yourself or a loved one. Warm up and fill up in one of several local eateries offering everything from pizza to sushi to craft beer.

Bayfront Park

Walking distance from the Gaslight District, Petoskey’s Bayfront Park sits on the shores of Little Traverse Bay. There’s nothing quite like Lake Michigan in the fall when big, blue waves roll in against the backdrop of an autumn sky and colorful trees. Stroll along the park’s waterfront, see the famous clocktower and pier, and search for Petoskey stones on the rocky stretch of the beach. In the evening, take in an amazing fall sunset over the lake.

5 Reasons We Love Krewe Eyewear

5 Reasons We Love Krewe Eyewear

Krewe Eyewear is one of our favorite brands here at The Sunglass Shoppe. We love that they are an independent eyewear company that takes inspiration from the culture in its home city. We think you will love Krewe Eyewear too! Here are five reasons we believe Krewe Eyewear is one of the best brands for eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Inspired by New Orleans 

Krewe Eyewear founder Stirling Barrett started Krewe Eyewear in his hometown of New Orleans. The brands’ modern, iconic frames are inspired by the rich culture of the Big Easy. The energy and diversity of the city is translated into their eyewear designs, making them unique.

Invests in the Community

From the start, Barrett wanted to use Krewe eyewear to invest in New Orleans. It was important to him to contribute to the economy in his hometown by headquartering and manufacturing his eyewear there. He also has two brick-and-mortar stores in the city. His company continues to put down roots in New Orleans and provide jobs locally.

Gives Back to the Community

Barrett took his mission to give back to the community of New Orleans a step further by starting a non-profit organization called the Krewe Foundation. Through this, he provides local disadvantaged high school students with free prescription eyewear. The foundation has touched the lives of hundreds of students through the program.

High-Quality

Krewe makes high-quality, small-batch, hand-crafted frames. Only the best materials are used in the manufacturing process. The use of premium metals, plant-based acetate, and bio-plastic means the frames are ethically sourced and produce as little waste as possible. The lenses are shatter-resistant and offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. Special anti-smudge and anti-scratch coatings ensure that your view is always clear. After production, each pair of Krewe eyewear is put through a 100-point quality check to make sure customers only get the very best.

The Second Chance Program

Every pair of Krewe Eyewear is backed by the Second Chance Program. The first time a pair of frames breaks or is damaged Krewe will repair or replace them for free. After the first time, Krewe will repair or replace your eyewear for a small standard fee. They want to make sure you are back in your Krewes as soon as possible.

Visit The Sunglass Shoppe to learn more about Krewe Eyewear. We have four Michigan locations in Petoskey, Traverse City, Charlevoix, and Saugatuck. We’re happy to tell you more about this brand we love. Come view our collection of Krewe Eyewear and try on a pair to experience the quality and style for yourself.

Five Spots to See in Charlevoix

Five Spots to See in Charlevoix

Tucked between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, the town of Charlevoix is a prime spot for a Northern Michigan summer vacation. Here are five must-see spots you don’t want to miss when you visit.

Earl Young Mushroom Houses

The Mushroom Houses, as they’re affectionately called, were designed and built by artist Earl Young. Made of stone with unusual rooflines and wavy eaves, the houses have a storybook feel to them. A nature lover, Young designed the houses to blend with the landscape and sourced the stone from the beaches of Northern Michigan. The 26 homes are private residences. While they’re not open for inside tours, you can view the Mushroom Houses from the outside. Mushroom House Tours offers a guided tour. You can also take a self-guided walking or driving tour through the neighborhood. Please be considerate of the homeowners and don’t trespass on private property.

Castle Farms

As the name suggests, there is a castle in Northern Michigan! The castle was built in 1918 by the president of Sears and Roebuck, modeled after the stone barns and castles found in France. Today the grounds of Castle Farms are open to the public. You can view the incredible architecture of the castle and outbuildings and the beautiful botanical garden. You’ll also find the world’s largest outdoor model train in the garden. The building that once housed the farm’s blacksmith shop is now a WWI museum filled with memorabilia from the era. You can also see the owner’s private collection of antiques. Stop by the castle’s 1918 Cellars Tasting Room and Bistro to sample the farm’s Northern Michigan-produced wines and grab a bite to eat.

Fisherman’s Island State Park

Fisherman’s Island State Park has six miles of pristine, undeveloped beach along Lake Michigan. With that much sand, it’s easy to find a quiet spot along the water. It’s named for a small island off-shore. When lake levels are low the island can be reached by wading out to it. Currently, the lake is too high for that. A 2.5-mile hiking trail takes you through rolling sand dunes, forests, and bogs. It’s a great spot to take in the natural beauty of Northern Michigan. 

Charlevoix South Pier Light Station and Michigan Beach Park

The Charlevoix South Pier Light Station is an iconic symbol of Northern Michigan. It’s one of the most photographed landmarks in the state. The bright red tower makes a striking contrast against the backdrop of Lake Michigan’s blue water. It’s located in Michigan Beach Park where you’ll find a large, white sand beach. There is also a playground and walking trails at the park. The restaurants and shops in downtown Charlevoix are within walking distance from the beach.

Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix is just inland from Lake Michigan, connected to the big lake by the Pine River Channel. The lake is a favorite spot for water sports, fishing, and swimming. With over 60 miles of shoreline, kayaking is also a popular activity on the lake. Ferry Beach Park, a public beach on Lake Charlevoix, has a playground and a boat launch. For a unique experience ride the Ironton Ferry, a cable-operated car ferry, across the south arm of the lake. 

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized Sunglasses

If outdoor sports and recreation are high on your list of favorite activities, you should consider wearing polarized sunglasses. They’ll help you see more clearly and make your time outside more enjoyable.

Traditional sunglasses work by making the sun appear less bright. Wearing them is like using a dimmer switch. On sunny days they reduce the intensity of sunlight. They also protect your eyes from UV rays. What they don’t do is reduce glare or block specific types of light.

Polarized sunglasses block horizontal reflected light. This is the light that reflects off of white snow or water on a bright, sunny day. The reflected light creates the dazzling glare that makes it so you can’t see through the water or that blinds you on the ski slope. Polarized sunglasses have a special coating that is applied in a vertical pattern. It blocks the horizontal rays that cause glare while allowing vertical rays through. LIke traditional sunglasses, polarized lenses also provide UV protection.

The glare from horizontal rays when you’re wearing traditional sunglasses changes the way colors appear. You won’t see the full impact of a beautiful blue sky or an emerald green forest. Colors appear muted. With polarized sunglasses colors are more true, shadows and highlights have more contrast, and clarity is improved.

The glare from the sun can also be dangerous during activities that require a clear view of your surroundings so you can react quickly. When skiing or mountain biking, glare may disrupt your sightline. That could cause a serious accident.

Polarized sunglasses can also reduce eye strain and prevent headaches. However, it’s important to remember you still can’t stare directly at the sun when wearing them. Also, if you’re using an electronic device that has an anti-glare screen, polarized sunglasses may make it hard to view.

Polarized sunglasses are especially popular with fishermen. They shade their eyes from the sun out on the water, and they also eliminate the sun’s glare off the water. If you look at the water on a sunny day wearing traditional sunglasses, you’ll only see the surface of the water because of the sun’s reflection. If you’re wearing polarized sunglasses, that glare is blocked. You’ll be able to see down into the water. In clear water, you can see the fish swimming below the surface. That’s a big advantage for a fisherman!

Polarized sunglasses aren’t just for outdoorsmen, however. They’re also good for blocking glare when driving, particularly when the sun is rising or setting. Have you ever been driving west at sunset when suddenly the glare on your windshield makes it so you can’t see anything but the blinding light? Polarized sunglasses help prevent that, too.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you aren’t left out. Polarized prescription sunglasses are also available.

The Sunglass Shoppe has a variety of unique and designer frames that can be fitted with polarized lenses, both prescription and non-prescription. Visit one of our four locations in Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Saugatuck. We’ll help you find the right sunglasses to fit your lifestyle and your unique personality.