Overexposure to the sun’s damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays can result in blindness caused by temporary damage to the cornea, which is similar to a sunburn. This condition, also known as photokeratitis, can be caused in regular sunny conditions, not only where it’s snowy. Snow can reflect up to 80% of the damaging light, but other sunny conditions can also damage your corneas. Other light exposure that can cause symptoms include arc welding and tanning booths.
Symptoms include a gritty feeling, tearing, pain and redness, and in some cases a loss of vision. By the time you notice symptoms of this disorder, the damage has already been done.
It’s recommended that you protect yourself in sunny conditions, particularly on the slopes, on the lake, or anywhere you’re exposed to intense light. In high altitudes where the air is thin there is more UV light, so be very cautious to protect sensitive eye tissues by wearing ski goggles, or protective sunglasses.
Children are also at risk, so by all means get those little bambinos some eye protection.
Click here to read more about photokeratitis.
Image credit: Boy Making Snow Angel, by Petr Kratochvil