What is Snow Glare?: Protect Your Vision This Winter

What is Snow Glare?: Protect Your Vision This Winter

Winter’s glorious landscapes and glistening snow can create a picturesque wonderland. However, for those who spend time outdoors, this beauty often comes with a blinding challenge—snow glare. Understanding the science behind snow glare and how polarized shades can enhance visibility is essential for staying safe and thriving during winter activities.

The Science Behind Snow Glare

Snow glare, also known as snow blindness or photokeratitis, occurs when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are reflected off the snow’s surface. This reflection can be incredibly intense and damaging to the eyes. Snow is Mother Nature’s natural mirror, bouncing the sunlight in all directions, including directly into your eyes.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Reflection: When sunlight hits the snow, it bounces off the surface at multiple angles.
  2. Scattering: These reflected rays scatter in all directions, including directly into your eyes.
  3. Intensity: The intensity of snow glare can be significantly higher than the usual sunlight due to the additional reflection.
  4. UV Exposure: Snow glare exposes your eyes to harmful UV rays, which can cause painful damage to the cornea, just like a sunburn on the skin.

Why Polarized Sunglasses Are Essential

Polarized sunglasses are designed to combat glare by blocking polarized light, such as the light reflected off water, roads, and, in this case, snow. Here’s how they work:

  1. Polarization: Polarized lenses contain a specially curated filter that blocks horizontal light waves while allowing vertical waves to pass through.
  2. Glare Reduction: By filtering out horizontally polarized light, polarized sunglasses drastically reduce glare and reflections.
  3. Enhanced Clarity: These lenses improve contrast and clarity, making objects in your vision appear sharper and more defined.
  4. UV Protection: Besides reducing glare, polarized lenses offer 100% UV protection, safeguarding your eyes from harmful UV rays year-round.

Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses in Winter

  1. Improved Visibility: Polarized sunglasses improve visibility in wintry conditions by reducing the intensity of glare. This is especially vital for activities like skiing, snowboarding, and driving.
  2. Reduced Eye Strain: Squinting and straining your eyes to see in bright, snowy conditions can lead to eye fatigue. Polarized sunglasses reduce the need to squint, thus reducing eye strain.
  3. Enhanced Safety: Better visibility means safer outdoor activities. Whether hitting the slopes, driving on snow and ice-covered roads, or simply taking a winter stroll, polarized sunglasses can help prevent incidents caused by impaired vision.
  4. Comfort and Eye Health: Protecting your eyes from the harsh effects of snow glare not only ensures your comfort but also safeguards your eye health now and down the road. Photokeratitis, which can result from UV exposure, is painful and can temporarily affect your vision by damaging the cornea.

Our Top Picks

  1. Maui Jim: Maui Jim is a brand known for its high-quality polarized lenses that enhance color contrast and reduce glare, making it easier to see in bright sunlight and snow glare.
  2. Zeal Optics: Zeal Optics curates eco-friendly, high-quality frames ready for any winter adventure. They also provide 100% UV protection, which means they block out harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause eye damage and increase the risk of eye diseases.
  3. Ray-Ban: Ray-Bans are made with high-quality polarized lenses that reduce glare and provide excellent vision on snowy days.

Understanding the science of snow glare and the benefits of polarized sunglasses is crucial for anyone spending time outdoors in the winter. These specialized sunglasses not only enhance visibility but also provide essential protection against UV radiation. When winter arrives, have a reliable pair of polarized sunglasses to enjoy the snowy wonderland while keeping your eyes safe and comfortable. Stay stylish and protected during the winter season with this essential eyewear accessory. 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, Traverse City, and Saugatuck. We’ll help you find the right sunglasses for your lifestyle and unique personality.

Understanding Digital Eyestrain & Effective Prevention

Understanding Digital Eyestrain & Effective Prevention

We have entered a digital era where screen time has increased dramatically. Although these advancements have enhanced how we work, play, and communicate, there are some concerns when it comes to our eyes. Understanding and preventing digital eyestrain can help you avoid discomfort and protect your vision. Join us as we explain digital eyestrain, the symptoms, and tips to keep your eyes healthy in a technologically progressive age.

What is digital eyestrain?:

Digital eyestrain encompasses various vision-related issues arising from the use of digital devices like computers, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. As we participate in screen time for extended periods, our eyes constantly focus and refocus, which can result in discomfort and strain. The overall main contributing factors to digital eyestrain are:

  • Prolonged screen time: When spending long periods looking at a screen with no break, our eyes work overtime to maintain focus.
  • Blue light exposure: Digital screens emit high-energy blue light, which can penetrate the eye deeply, cause eye fatigue, and disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Screen glare and reflections: Glare caused by less-than-ideal lighting conditions and screen reflections puts added strain on our eyes as they struggle to decipher images.
  • Small text and fonts: Squinting to read smaller text or fonts can cause strain to the eyes.

Recognizing symptoms of digital eyestrain:

The symptoms of digital eyestrain include eye fatigue, dryness, redness, burning sensation, headaches, blurred vision, and discomfort in the neck and shoulders. When detected early on, discomfort or the progression of discomfort can be avoided. If you are experiencing symptoms of digital eyestrain, consider contacting your ophthalmologist.

Understanding the 20-20-20 rule:

The 20-20-20 rule is an effective preventive measure before symptoms arise. The 20-20-20 rule suggests taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus on something 20 feet away to reduce eye strain and fatigue caused by prolonged screen use. This concept is easy yet effective when considering the health of your eyes and comfort.

Ergonomics and workspace optimization:

An eye-friendly workspace is a setup that prioritizes optimal vision comfort and reduces eye strain. It includes proper lighting, screen positioning at eye level, minimizing glare, and maintaining a comfortable working distance from the screen to promote healthy eye habits during long hours of computer use. Consider using an anti-glare screen protector to avoid reflections that can contribute to digital eyestrain.

Blue light protection:

The Sunglass Shoppe offers digital eyestrain lenses that filter harmful blue light, helping to keep your eyes protected and comfortable. Whether or not you have a prescription, you can benefit from this lens. Students have said that this has been a wonderful option for them.

Creating a digital detox routine:

Mindful screen usage and setting aside time for relaxation and outdoor activities are great ways to relieve your eyes from screens. This is an excellent option for those who work on computers and phones all day; consider avoiding screens for 1-2 hours after work each day. 

Digital eyestrain is a common challenge in our technology-driven world, but armed with knowledge and proactive measures, we can easily protect our eyes and enjoy digital experiences. Implementing simple yet effective prevention strategies ensures your eyes remain vibrant and healthy as you tackle the next school year or any screen-filled endeavor. Prioritize your ocular well-being, and let your vision shine! The Sunglass Shoppe offers digital eyestrain lenses whether or not you have a prescription. Stop by one of our optical locations in Petoskey and Traverse City to learn more!

3 Reasons We Love STATE Optical Co.

3 Reasons We Love STATE Optical Co.

When it comes to choosing the right eyewear, there are many options to consider. However, STATE Optical Co. stands out from the rest for its unique features, commitment to quality, and impactful mission. Here are 3 reasons we love STATE Optical Co. that you need to know.

  1. Purposeful Design: Each pair of STATE Optical Co. is designed with purpose, ensuring that they not only look good but also serve a greater good. Their lightweight and comfortable fit allows every aspect of their design has been carefully considered to make sure that you have the best possible experience.
  2. Giving Back: STATE Optical Co. is more than just a company selling eyewear. They are a company that is committed to making a difference. For every pair of eyewear purchased, STATE donates a portion of their sales to support educational initiatives in underprivileged communities. This means that when you buy from STATE, you’re not only getting a great product, but you’re also supporting a great cause.
  3. Quality Guaranteed: STATE Optical Co. takes quality seriously. From the materials used to create their eyewear to the rigorous testing they undergo, they make sure that every pair of eyewear is of the highest quality. With a focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail, STATE is a brand you can trust to provide you with the best possible eyewear experience.

STATE Optical Co. is a brand that is truly dedicated to making a difference. With purposeful design, a commitment to giving back, and a guarantee of quality, they are the perfect choice for anyone looking for eyewear that is both stylish and impactful. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses or a stylish pair of eyeglasses, STATE has something for everyone. So why not give them a try today and make a difference in the world? Stop by one of our locations to browse the collection!

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 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.


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.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Wearing Goggles on the Slopes This Winter

5 Reasons You Should Consider Wearing Goggles on the Slopes This Winter

As we have stated before, it is just as important to protect your eyes from sunlight in the winter as it is in the summer. The same goes for when you are skiing or snowboarding on the slopes! Although wearing sunglasses would protect you from UV rays when you are skiing or snowboarding, they won’t protect you from all the elements of winter. We suggest investing in a good pair of ski goggles if you are into winter sports.

Here are five reasons we think ski goggles are necessary when you are on the slopes.

They will never fall off

 When skiing or on a snowboard, you can pick up some pretty fast speed going down the mountain! If you are only wearing sunglasses, they can easily fly off depending on your speed. Avoid the fear of losing a good pair of sunglasses by wearing ski goggles. Ski goggles include a tight strap and should fit snug around your entire head, so they don’t go flying.   

They protect you from flying debris

 With the speed you are going when traveling down a mountain on skis or a snowboard, you never know what you might run in to, and you may not have enough time to get out of the way if there is flying debris or dust in your way. If you are wearing ski goggles correctly, they should be sealed around your eyes so small particles or dust can’t get into your eyes. This is especially important if you are night skiing, where your vision may be more altered due to the darkness.

Reduces glare

 Snow is bright! If the sun hits snow the right way, it can produce a blinding glare and prevent you from seeing what’s in front of you. Purchase polarized or tinted sunglasses to help minimize the sun glare. They will also help with UV protection.

Protects your eyes if you are in an accident

 Hopefully, it will never happen, but there is always a chance of losing control on the slopes and getting into an accident with another person or a tree. If you lose control and end up hitting a tree or running into branches, your eyes will be protected from anything going into your eye and causing damage if you wear ski goggles. This will help you avoid more damage that may have happened.

They will keep your eyes from drying out

 The winter months bring dryer air, which can affect your eyes when you are out on the slopes. Having that dry air enter your eyes when you speed down the slopes can be very uncomfortable. If worn correctly, ski goggles will suction snug around your face so as not to let in any air as you are speeding down the slopes. You will feel much more comfortable on the mountain when you don’t have dry eyes.

Have we sold you on the importance of ski goggles yet? If we have and you are not sure where to start looking for a good pair, stop into the Sunglass Shoppe, and we can fit you for the perfect pair! The Sunglass Shoppe has locations in Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Saugatuck, MI.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Wearing Goggles on the Slopes This Winter
5 Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes During the Winter

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes During the Winter

With the cold weather at our doorstep, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your body for the dramatic change in temperatures, including your eyes. Winters in Michigan can take a toll on your eyes, but there are steps you can take to protect them.

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is important all year long, but it’s often forgotten in the cold months. It’s easy to remind yourself to drink plenty of water in the summer because it is so hot outside, but drinking water in the winter is just as important, even for your eyes. Drinking plenty of water during the day keeps your body hydrated. Drinking water also keeps your skin and your eyes moisturized. Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable; help avoid discomfort by staying conscious of the amount of water you drink.

Use a humidifier indoors

 You not only experience dry air outdoors in the cold, but it also follows you indoors. Use a humidifier in your home. Keep it in the rooms where you spend the most time. Using a humidifier while you sleep will also help your eyes adjust to the dry air when you wake up every morning!

Wear Sunglasses

 Even though we don’t see the sun as much in the winter as in the summer, harmful rays can still affect us. UV rays are still present in the winter and sometimes can be stronger. The sunlight can bounce off the bright white snow to produce a stronger light in your eyes. There can also be more flying debris in the winter when the wind picks up, such as snow, ice chips, and dirt. Protect yourself from flying debris by wearing sunglasses.

You may not see as many people wearing sunglasses in the winter as you do in the summer, but sunglasses protect your eyes year-round. Don’t forget, the sun reflects off the snow and ice too.
Check out the Sunglass Shoppe’s selection of sunglasses!

Wash your hands often

If it wasn’t drilled into your head over the past two years, we are here to remind you again to wash your hands frequently! Viruses tend to show up more during the winter months than any other time of the year. Viruses are most commonly transferred through hands to your eyes. Avoid touching your eyes and washing your hands frequently to prevent viruses and other eye-related sicknesses.

Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids help with eye dryness and itchiness. The oils from the omega-3 fatty acids help to produce more moisture in your eyes. Add an omega-3 fatty acid pill to your daily routine to help with discomfort in your eyes. Be sure to always consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, for safety precautions.

The winter season can be lots of fun if you embrace the cold weather and take care of yourself. Use the above tips to feel more comfortable during the Northern Michigan winters!