Posted by: juliegriffey | February 16, 2015

With all this snow, your eyes are at risk for snow blindness

snow blindnessHoly snow!  That’s all I can say after viewing pictures posted by my friends in New England.  Apparently Boston has received over seven feet of snow over the past two weeks making it the snowiest February on record.  With seven feet of snow  at your front door – I don’t even know how you make it out of the house.  But assuming you eventually do – you need to be thinking about your eyes.

When you are surrounded by snow – you are at a greater risk for snow blindness.  Yes – this is true – snow blindness really exists and the proper name for it is: photokeratitis. Snow blindness is like getting a sunburn in your eyes.   This is not only painful – it is also damaging to your eyes and puts you at greater risk for developing melanoma in the eye.

The reason why snowy environments can be so dangerous to your eyes is because fresh snow reflects about 80% of the sun’s UV radiation.  Compare this to a sandy beach that reflects just 15% of the sun’s UV radiation. So if you think you need sunglasses at the beach – you REALLY need sunglasses in the snow.

The best way to protect your eyes from snow blindness is to wear sunglasses or goggles when in snowy environments.  If you are caught in the snow unexpectedly – you can protect your eyes by covering them with some type of black fabric (or even duck tape) with slits that allow you to see.   This is all assuming that you can make it out the door!



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