Protecting Your Eyes From Snow Blindness

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Have your eyes ever felt gritty and watery after an outdoor adventure? Maybe you felt a burning sensation and suffered temporary vision loss?

If this sounds familiar to you, you may have been exposed to high levels of UV rays from light reflections while boating, hiking at high elevation, or participating in snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. This condition, formally called photokeratitis, is particularly common in winter, and you might have heard of it by the name “snow blindness.”

Why Snow Blindness?

Photokeratitis is essentially getting a sunburn on the surface of your eye. This can happen in most climates with strong sunlight, particularly when there are reflective surfaces such as white sand, water, or especially snow. You could also get it without any sun at all, from man-made sources of light like welding torches!

The reason photokeratitis is so much more common in winter is that the snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV rays that hit the ground, so your eyes get almost a double dose of sunlight. The high altitude is a factor as well. One of the dangerous things about photokeratitis is that, like a normal sunburn, it can take hours before the symptoms appear. As a result, you might keep exposing your eyes to harmful UV rays even after the damage has begun, making the condition more severe.

Soothing Snowblind Eyes

If you do get snow blindness as you enjoy winter activities, there are a few simple ways you can treat it to help your eyes recover more quickly. Photokeratitis dries out the eyes, so you’ll want to restore the lost moisture with things like wet cloths, humidifiers, and eyedrops. Remove your contacts if you wear them and avoid rubbing your eyes. If possible, you might also want to cover the affected eye (or eyes) with patches so that they aren’t further irritated by additional light.

Having The Right Eye Protection

Knowing how to treat snow blindness is useful, but it’s even better to avoid getting it in the first place. That’s where protective eye wear comes in, so you can spend as much time as you want shredding moguls on your snowboard or carving slopes on your skis this season. Make sure to get sunglasses — or, preferably, ski goggles — that block 100 percent of UV light. Polarized lenses will also greatly reduce glare and help you see contrast better in the snow.

We’re Here For You

Snow blindness typically heals on its own after a day or two, but if your symptoms are worsening after the first day or aren’t going away after the second day, you should come see us immediately. We hope you have a wonderful time this ski season, but don’t forget to protect your vision!

We love all of our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

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Laura Henry
Laura Henry

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

My early elementary school aged son has gone through 2 sessions of vision therapy and it has greatly helped him. His grades and tests scores are way up and he truly enjoys reading now. Dr. Levin and Ms. Janet the therapist do exceptional work. The progress my son has made is phenomenal. I would recommend this program to anyone with a child struggling in school due to vision issues.

Mary Ann Nowak
Mary Ann Nowak

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

I have be n going to Levin Eye Care Center since high school (before it became Levin) During all these years, the staff has been amazing. I know I am getting a thorough exam that might point to other health issues as I get older. Dr. Levin is great and i highly recommend him and Levin Eye Care!

Gwen Stricker
Gwen Stricker

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Before coming to Levin Eye Care Center for vision therapy, I had trouble reading and seeing things clearly whether nearby or in the distance. After working through the vision therapy program, it improved my vision and allowed my eyes to work as a team. I have been coming back for eye exams since then, and always have a positive experience. I’ll be moving to New York for graduate school and studying architecture at Columbia University and I can say without a doubt that the Levin Eye Care Center vision therapy program has helped me get there. I wish I could take the practice and Dr. Levin with me!

Monique Miller
Monique Miller

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Definitely 5 stars!!!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Staff is so kind & helpful. They were able to fit me in on the times & dates I needed. I have a very busy schedule & they worked around it.
When it came to selecting glasses Tianna VERY patient & helpful. She helped me find the perfect fit glasses. They have a large selection of amazing designer glasses & sunglasses!!! Can't thank her enough for helping me!
Dr. Levin always wonderful. Makes sure I am seeing 20/20 every visit. This the 3rd time I have seen Dr. Levin.
He also took extra time making sure my contacts were the perfect fit. I have very sensitive eyes. He ordered a variety of contacts just to make sure I found the ones that fit my eye best.
Highly recommend this wonderful eye care center!!!!!!!!!!!

Monique Miller

04-30-2018

Levin Eye Care Center
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Diana I.
Diana I.
2018-07-08 10:33:22
My family and I have been going to Levin Eye Care Center since 2009 when our, then 2 year old son was in need of corrective eyewear. The staff at Levin was...
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Dr. Levin and his staff have excellent attention to detail and lots of patience. They answered all my questions and made me feel super welcomed with a snack...
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Levin Eye Care Center stands head and shoulders above many businesses. They are excellent with customer service, pay special attention to detail,work hard...