Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow Blindness

Looking out upon the white snowy landscape resulting from winter storm Euclid, I got to thinking about snow blindness. Can the average person get snow blindness? What is it? Is it permanent? 

Snow blindness, or sunburn of the eye's surface, happens at high altitudes where incoming ultraviolet rays reflect off snow to burn the corneas of unprotected eyes. Like sunburn, the problem isn't noticed until hours later when eyes are teary or bloodshot. With severe exposures, eyes feel gritty and may swell shut. Fortunately, corneas usually heal in 12 - 48 hours and painful snow blindness rarely causes permanent eye damage. 

Bottom line = wear winter eye protection (especially in high altitudes) and enjoy the snow! It's my favorite time of the year.

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