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Ski Sunglasses

Ski Sunglasses
One of the largest selections of ski sunglasses available with prices starting at under £15 with free UK delivery on orders £15 and over in value. Models featured include polarised options, sunglasses with Category 4 lenses and  ‘combination’ sunglass-goggles. For ski goggles please click here. Even if you wear goggles for skiing, you’ll need a pair of good quality sunglasses with you on your skiing holiday. At the bottom of this page is a full length article that might help you make the right ski eyewear choice.

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How to make the right ski eyewear choice

For anyone going skiing, snowboarding or even hiking at high altitude it’s essential to wear good quality sunglasses or goggles because on mountains the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are easily underestimated; with a high risk of sunburn and ultimately skin cancer (including cancer of the eyelids) and eye cataracts. Because mountain air is cool, it gives a false sense of security about the sunlight. But the higher the altitude, the greater the ultraviolet radiation (UVR), because there is less atmosphere to screen out  harmful rays. Research has shown that eyes receive up to 2.5 times more UVR on mountains than at sea level. Even when the eyes are turned away from the sun, they can still get over 85 per cent more UVR on snow. This can cause conditions such as snow blindness, which can lead to inflammation and cataracts.
As the eye cannot see UVR, good quality goggles and sunglasses have an important function in blocking UVR. Wearing cheap eyewear with no UV filters poses an even greater danger than wearing none at all because the pupils will dilate allowing more harmful rays into the eye. So always ensure the goggles or sunglasses you buy are UV400 rated providing the maximum protection from harmful UVR and are CE marked. It’s also worth noting that the lens colour and tint has nothing to do with the UV protection as the UV filter applied to lenses is actually clear. So lighter coloured lenses can still be UV400 rated.

Goggles or sunglasses?

20 years ago most skiers wore sunglasses and only a minority wore goggles but the huge growth of snowboarding coupled with greater awareness of the risk of head damage has meant the reverse is now true – there are more goggle than sunglass wearers. By necessity helmets are worn by all snow boarders and more progressive, accomplished skiers tackling challenging snow runs and going off-piste. And helmets and goggles go together.
But skiers that are not intending to tackle black runs all day and are content with more “sedate” skiing can quite happily get by with good quality sunglasses. But even at moderate speed cold wind can cause the eyes to water so it’s worth looking out for full frame (not half frame) models with a “full wrap” (wrap-around) fit that will keep out wind (and sun glare).

Lens tints & colours

This can be very confusing but the following is a general guide applying to goggles and sunglasses. At very high altitude (above 2000 metres) glare can be intense so it’s worth ensuring you have Category 4 grey or brown dark lenses (we have several Category 4 models – see Search By Category).

At lower levels it really depends on the conditions: in bright sunny conditions with clear skies grey or brown (Category 3) lenses are good and polarised lenses will also help as they minimise the glare that reflects off the piste surface.

In cloudy, dull and overcast conditions and when there is “flat light”; amber, orange, rose & yellow-amber will be preferable. Some models of goggles and sunglasses have interchangeable lenses that will typically include a dark lens and light lens to cope with all conditions.

Mirror coatings to lenses are also worth considering as they further limit light exposure that could cause photokeratitis (snow blindness) on bright, sunny days.