Snow Blindness is a painful condition
caused by excessive exposure of ultra-violet (U.V.) light to the cornea
of the eye.
As its name suggests, the term "snow blindness"
is used to refer to situations in which excessive exposure of ultra-violet
light to the cornea is caused by light being reflected from snow
- often wide expanses of snow-covered mountains, as encountered on skiing
and snow-boarding holidays, for example. Snow Blindness
may be prevented by the use of appropriate eye-protection, that is spectacles
or sports goggles with sufficient UV protection for the environment concerned.
It is interesting to note the proportion of UV light reflected by common
environmental surfaces, i.e.
- Fresh snow reflects approx. 80% of UV radiation,
- Sea foam typically reflects approx. 25% of UV radiation, and
- Dry sandy beaches typically reflect approx. 15% of UV radiation.
Snow blindness may be thought of as "sunburn
of the cornea and conjunctiva", and may not become apparent
for several hours after exposure. Eye-protection against solar UV radiation
is therefore especially important when participating in "Winter
Sports" involving snow-covered landscapes.
More about Ophthalmology: This section includes short definitions
of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list
to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).
Other related pages include the diagram
of the eye, and definitions
of parts of the eye, a description
of the human retina, and definitions
of parts of the retina, and the section of short definitions
of clinical and surgical procedures re. eyes and human visual system.
For further information see also our section of Books