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What Should I Know About Snow Blindness?

What Should I Know About Snow Blindness?

Are you going skiing this winter? Snowboarding? Or do you plan to miss the cold weather entirely and spend the winter months on a beach somewhere, sipping a cold beverage and gazing out into the ocean? Regardless of your decision, Larson Eye Care would like to take this opportunity to discuss snow blindness, a painful condition that can arise when you spend too much time out in the snow – or, conversely, too much time on the beach. What is snow blindness? Snow blindness, a common form of photokeratitis, is a medical condition caused by overexposure to UV rays. People who develop snow blindness often spend several hours out in the snow without proper eye protection. Snow and ice can reflect UV rays into the eyes, resulting in a burned cornea. In fact, snow blindness is actually a form of sunburn. Despite the name, snow blindness can also result from UV lights reflected from sand or water. Tanning lamps, tanning beds, and arc welding can lead to the condition as well. What are the symptoms of snow blindness? Symptoms of snow blindness include: Eye pain Blurry vision Gritty sensation in eye Red eyes Increased sensitivity to light Headache Swollen eyes or eyelids Vision loss Just like other sunburns, snow blindness is not immediately painful. It may take several hours after UV exposure before symptoms appear. What is the treatment for snow blindness? Thankfully, snow blindness is a temporary condition and typically resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours. In the meantime, you can...