During the winter, it is more important than ever to protect your eyes, to stay safe from snow blindness. A type of photokeratitis, snow blindness is a sunburn of the eyes that occurs when snow and ice reflect UV rays, making UV light more intense. You can also suffer from snow blindness if your cornea becomes dry or frozen in very cold weather.
Snow blindness leads to a number of symptoms including the sensation of sand in the eye, pain, redness, sensitivity to light, tearing, headaches, blurred vision, and even, in extreme cases, temporary vision loss. The more time you spend outdoors in the sun without eye protection, the more severe your symptoms are likely to be.
Treating Snow Blindness
If you or a family member experience from any of the above symptoms of snow blindness after being outdoors without adequate eye protection, you should see your eye doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition by asking you about your recent activities and using an eye drop with fluorescein dye to examine your eyes and look for UV damage.
Snow blindness clears up on its own after one or two days, but you can reduce the symptoms as your eyes heal. If you use contact lenses, remove them and place a cold compress over your eyes. You can also use artificial tears, pain relievers, and antibiotics as your ophthalmologist suggests, recommends Eye Smart. Avoid rubbing your eyes, as this may aggravate the condition.
How to Avoid Snow Blindness
The best way to go about protecting your eyes from snow blindness is to use shades that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. This is particularly important while playing winter sports and while at high altitudes, where the air is thinner, says Eye Smart.
The sunglasses in the Real Kids collection are perfect for protecting your children’s eyes from snow blindness, as our shades do not only block 100 percent of UV rays, they also feature impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that will not shatter upon impact — ideal for active kids playing in the snow.