Protecting Your Vision While Skiing and Snowboarding

The Colorado Optometric Association provides tips to prevent eye injury ~

Denver, CO — we Coloradans don ski jackets, pants and gloves for a day of skiing, the Colorado Optometric Association urges you to protect your eyes and those of your loved ones. The reasons are simple.  The sun (especially at high altitude) can permanently damage our eyes without proper eye protection, and sunglasses (Rx or not) are NOT the preferred eye protection while skiing/snowboarding for several reasons including a lack of complete coverage.

Why is it important to wear eye protection while skiing / snowboarding?

The main eye health concerns regarding direct or indirect sun and UV exposure are photokeratitis or “snow blindness” (painful corneal burns caused by high-intensity UV light), cataracts, and ocular lesions or tumors. “Damage may result in temporary or permanent vision loss and can take hours or more to appear or manifest. Therefore, to prevent injury to you and your loved ones, all skiers and snowboarders are advised to use the most complete form of eye protection: ski goggles that block 100% of UVA/UVB rays” says COA President Dr. Jon Pederson. “Most goggles made for winter sports provide some form of UV protection and follow guidelines for construction, such as shatter-proof polycarbonate lenses, that help protect our eyes against trauma from foreign bodies. Sunglasses, including prescription, polarized, and wrap-arounds, do not form a complete seal around the eyes and therefore are not fully protective against these potential injury threats.”

The Colorado Optometric Association provides some tips to prevent serious eye injury before, during and after hitting the slopes. Proper preparation is the first step and can help ensure that you enjoy your time on the snow this season. This is as easy as including a quality set of goggles on your skiing/snowboarding checklist. Prior to departure, simply glance at your goggles to ensure there is no obvious signs of damage or defect that will render them useless once on the slopes. While skiing/snowboarding, follow common solar observing methods (i.e. never look directly at the sun with or without goggles/sunglasses) to avoid permanent eye damage and severe vision loss. Once you have finished with your runs for the day, be sure to properly store your goggles in a pouch or protective case so they will be ready to safeguard your eyes when next you need them.

Nowadays, goggles come with numerous lens options including various tints and coatings which provide a wide array of visible light transmission (VLT) for varying light conditions. Your local Optometrist can advise you further on any specifics regarding the best protection for your eyes. To make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, visit to search for an Optometrist in your zip code.

About the Colorado Optometric Association (COA):
The Colorado Optometric Association (COA) is the professional organization of optometrists in Colorado. More than 600 Colorado Doctors of Optometry are voluntary members of the Association.
Since 1892, the COA has assisted its members in providing the highest standard of professional care to their patients by sponsoring continuing education programs for doctors, advocating in local and state governments for programs and laws that represent patients’ best interests, and providing information for the public. For more information, please or call 303-863-9778.