Sun reflecting off snow can cause snow blindness

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A sunny day when snow is on the ground can be harmful to your eyes.

A cloudless day means sunlight reflects off of the wintry landscape and into your eyes. That reflected light can lead to a burn on the clear, front surface of your eye, which is the cornea. This can lead to pain, redness, hazy vision, and even a temporary loss of vision. This is why it’s important to wear eye protection, especially if you’re outside for long periods of time, like when you’re out skiing.

“Yeah, you know, the sun reflects off the snow and makes it really difficult to see,” Laura Harner of Otis Ridge Ski Area said. “It can cause headaches and you know, could lead to snow blindness. Yeah it’s a good idea to protect your eyes when you’re out there on the slopes.”

To avoid snow blindness, wear sunglasses when you can. If you do experience snow blindness, in mild cases, you can treat it with artificial tears. But in more severe cases, like when the loss of vision goes on too long, you should go see a doctor.

The snow on the ground was especially bright since it’s so new, but the reflectivity decreases for older, dirty snow.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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