What is it?
Snow blindness, also called arc eye, is a painful eye condition caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. When too much UV light hits the outer layer of your eye (the cornea), it basically gives your cornea a sunburn. During winter months snow reflects the UV rays, so you’re not only exposed to the UV rays from the sun directly, but also indirectly from the glare off the snow, hence the term snow blindness!
How is it treated?
Typically, snow blindness will go away on its own as the corneas recover, typically in a day or two. Rest is the best approach for treatment. If you wear contact lenses, remove them until your symptoms have resolved and try not to rub your eyes. You may also consider:
- Use of a cold compress to ease the burning or painful eyes
- Staying inside to rest your eyes away from UV light
- Consulting your family physician to explore over-the-counter pain relievers that may help with your situation
** If your symptoms get worse, despite trying the above, make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible **