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Which sunglasses are best for skiing and snowboarding?

Since snow is one of the most reflective surfaces, sunglasses for skiing and snowboarding are essential when you are out on the slopes.

For both activities, ski goggles usually are the best choice for comfort, visibility and eye safety. [For help when purchasing ski goggles, read 12 Tips For Buying Ski Goggles.]

If you plan to wear sunglasses in lieu of ski goggles, consider sport sunglasses with a wraparound frame for added protection and to prevent the sun's harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes from the side.

A yellow-orange or rose hue will enhance contrast so you can more easily detect contours in snow on your way down the hills or mountain.

Polarized sunglasses very effectively reduce the "bounce-back" of bright sunlight reflecting off snow and ice, but this same feature may also make it harder to detect icy patches.

Also, mirrored sunglasses help reduce the intensity of sunlight in bright conditions even more than regular tinted lenses.

Keep in mind that snow blindness is a real threat when you are on snow — especially at high altitudes. To decrease your risk of becoming snowblind, make sure your ski goggles or ski sunglasses include lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection.

For the best safety and performance, discuss with your optician the conditions where and when you usually ski or snowboard to choose the best ski goggle and sunglass lenses for your particular needs and preferences.

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Amy Hellem

Amy Hellem is a writer, editor and researcher who specializes in eye care and other medical fields.

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