Eye Protection for the Ski Slopes

Bolle Goggles at the Winter Olympics

Eye protection while on the ski slopes is crucial. Your eyes can be damaged by the snow, wind, cold, sun and glare. Unexpected circumstances, such as whipping tree branches, falling ice and thrown snowballs can also injure eyes. Because your eyes require a high level of protection, what are some of the things you should consider when looking for the proper protective eye gear?

Protection in a Variety of Lights

Your eyes are not safe from ultraviolet (UV) rays on an overcast or cloudy day. Because of elevation and glare from snow, eye damage can be severe. Not all sports eye wear offers protection on ski slopes. Light, whether natural or sunlight, is comprised of violet, green, blue, orange, red and yellow light in various wavelengths. Understanding the way sunglasses protect the eyes through colored lenses is important. You are safer while you are maneuvering down a slope that is easy to see and analyze. Colored lenses filter out specific colors to augment vision. For instance, shadows, dips or mounds — terrain characteristics — are emphasized with rose or amber colored lenses. Furthermore, the three most common types of skiing days require different colored lenses:

  • Sunny: to increase visual perception and contrast, brown, grey or copper lenses are recommended
  • Overcast or hazy: The blue light within shadows is filtered out with yellow or orange lenses
  • Partly Cloudy: Red, amber or rose colored lenses are best

If you often ski under numerous sky conditions, you may consider purchasing a pair of sunglasses that have interchangeable colored lenses. Be aware that removing your goggles and sunglasses to exchange lenses may result in the fogging up of your lenses. Perhaps you would prefer sunglasses with lenses in a general color range of brown, amber, orange and yellow which works well in lights of low to moderate intensity.

About Polarized Sunglasses

Glare distorts the color of objects, which makes them more difficult to detect. Polarized sunglasses block the glare from the surface of water, glass and snow instead of merely dimming the entire field of vision as standard sunglasses do. Purchasing sunglasses with polarization will reduce glare, prevent eyestrain and enable a skier to “read” the terrain. However, ice on the slopes may not be obvious through polarized glasses.

Why Polarized Sunglasses Are Effective

Sunlight can be reflected from various angles. Glare is usually reflected horizontally from surfaces such as water, shiny objects and snow. Polarized lenses are laminated with a filter that permits only vertically-directed light to pass through. Since the horizontally angled light is blocked, glare is nearly eliminated. Brown and grey are the best colors for polarized lenses.

About Goggles

Goggles protect the eyes of skiers from flying ice and snow, wind, small branches and debris. They also offer more protection to the face than sunglasses do. Goggles are worn over sunglasses and are available in two shapes:

  • Spherical: These lenses curve vertically and horizontally, somewhat like a fish bowl. They furnish more protection from glare and distortion than flat goggles, since the surface of the lenses is curved, preventing the sun from striking them consistently in one place. The thinner frames permit a wider peripheral vision. Spherical lenses are more expensive than goggles with flat lenses.
  • Flat: Flat lenses fit the face because they curve horizontally, although the lens surface is a flat, vertical plane. Glare is more common in flat-lens goggles, and peripheral vision is somewhat reduced. Although they cost less than spherical goggles, they are still quite effective.

Fogging Up

Body heat and cold air create the moist phenomenon that reduces visibility through your goggles. Many features prevent the buildup of condensation or fog in your goggles:

  • Anti-fogging preparations that can be sprayed on as needed. Also, anti-fog coatings are incorporated into nearly all expensive goggle lenses.
  • Nearly all goggles have double lenses and do not fog up as quickly as single lenses, due to the seal that creates a thermal barrier.
  • Vents are strategically placed at the sides, top and bottom of goggles to prevent a moisture build-up.
  • More costly goggles may have battery-operated fans that disperse moisture by several settings than can be adjusted.


Look for sports goggles and sunglasses with hardy frames, shatterproof lenses, and polarized to avoid harmful UV rays. Goggles should fit comfortably on your face with the wide strap circling the entire helmet. Since skiing involves great speed on a slope, clear vision is crucial in the prevention of snow blindness, accidents or death. Goggles and sunglasses are available in many styles and protective features. Don’t take chances with your vision. Eye damage can be prevented if you make quality sunglasses and goggles the most important part of eye protection.

Author Bio: CoriAnne M. works online answering questions about car insurance requirements. When she has free time, she loves to ride horses and also hit the slopes in her home state of Wyoming.


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2 thoughts on “Eye Protection for the Ski Slopes

  1. Another problem that I have found that you get mostly with cheap skiing glasses is the way in which they can quickly become fogged up. You end up buying one or two pairs of cheap models that steam up quickly, and you may as well have spent the combined amount on one pair of expensive glasses, that keep you fog-free.

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