Snow Blindness: Prevention

Snow blindness, a painful eye condition caused by inflammation of the cornea, can be prevented easily with appropriate eye protection. I just wrote an article for the About.com Survival Skills website titled “Snow Blindness: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment,” but I wanted to show a few more photographs here of eye protection that can help prevent snow blindness, beginning with good full-coverage sunglasses:

I was wearing the above sunglasses while low-flying over France with my friend Alex Brown in his 1968 Piper Cherokee. It was super sunny, and I needed to wear wrap-style, polarized sunglasses, which are the type of sunglasses you’d also want to wear in snowy conditions to prevent light from entering the sides of your eyes. Oftentimes, however, more than mere sunglasses will be needed to prevent snow blindness. I’d suggest choosing glacier goggles instead:

Glacier goggles often have polarized, mirrored lenses, and they already have attachments on the sides to prevent sun from entering. I often choose glacier glasses over sunglasses when traveling over glaciers (of course…) or even when skiing or hiking in calm, sunny conditions.

But if I know it will be windy, I go for traditional ski goggles instead, even if I’m hiking instead of skiing:

The above goggles offer good protection from the wind, but I’d still choose darker lenses for brighter conditions. On super sunny skiing or hiking days, especially if I know I will be in glaciated terrain, I choose a mirrored lens instead:

Yes…I’m smiling in the above photo, not only because I have happy eyes but because I’m happy to be skiing in one of my favorite places in the world: Chamonix, France.

What to know more about preventing snow blindness?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“Snow Blindness: Prevention, Symptoms, and Treatment”
Snow blindness, or photokeratitis, is a painful eye condition caused by too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Those most at risk for snow blindness are those traveling outside in snowy terrain, across a snowfield or in a high-altitude winter environment, without proper eye protection. Prevent snow blindness by choosing sunglasses, glacier goggles, or snow goggles that effectively block out the sun’s UV rays from all angles…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.

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