Everything You Need to Know About Snow Blindness

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Everything You Need to Know About Snow Blindness

Before you start skiing down the slopes this winter, you need to make sure that you’re well-protected. We don’t just mean protecting yourself from the cold, but also protecting yourself from the sun. Granted, most people think of summer when it comes to sun protection, but winter has its own set of issues as well, namely in the form of snow blindness.

What is snow blindness?

Also known as photokeratitis, snow blindness is when you temporarily lose your vision as a result of overexposure to UV rays. While treatable, it can be extremely painful and disorienting, not to mention frightening once you lose your vision.

What causes it?

Imagine a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, and a clear, blue sky above. When the sun’s rays come down towards the ground, they bounce off of that blanket of snow and hit your eyes. Overtime, this can cause the outermost layer of your cornea (called the epithelium) to become inflamed and irritated, akin to a sunburn on your eyes.

What are the symptoms of snow blindness?

Snow blindness involves more than just temporarily losing your vision. It can also cause the following:

  • Pain and burning in your eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swollen, red eyelids
  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of vision
  • A feeling like something is in your eye
  • Glare and halos around lights

How is it treated?

It usually goes away on its own after a couple of days. In the meantime, though, you’ll want to avoid wearing contact lenses and use pain relievers such as aspirin or acetaminophen to reduce swelling and pain in your eyes. You should also stay indoors in order to avoid further exposure to UV rays.

How can I avoid snow blindness?

Snow blindness isn’t fun, but thankfully it can be avoided. As long as you wear proper eye protection such as sunglasses, you can prevent any UV rays from reaching your eyes. If you’re in need of a pair of sunglasses this winter, then take a look at the selection we have here at Real Shades.

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