One of the most important things to protect on your body while skiing is your eyes. This is not only because of flying debris, but how reflective the snow is when it comes to ultraviolet light. Before hitting the slopes, you must take this into consideration, and plan accordingly. It is not a theory, many experienced opticians know the dangers, and warn their patients of the effects of skiing without eye protection.
Eye protection will not cover all the hazards, it is likely to only help some of the dangers. So learn the risks, and how to remedy them.
What are the dangers of skiing to your eyes?
Snow and ice have high reflectability. Any light that touches snow is not absorbed, but rather 80 percent of it is reflected directly back. So, if you are in the path of this reflection, your eyes (and skin) will begin to suffer. While eye health is at risk, a bright burst of UV light could also cause an accident to those experiencing the sudden brightness.
Some do not understand that even in winter the sun puts forth UV light. We are naturally formatted to avoid direct sunlight. Our brow line protrudes from decades of evolution responding to the dangers of sun’s light rays. Additionally, we squint as a result of this. These natural reactions do not save our eyes from UV light. UV light is special in regards to how it penetrates our atmosphere, but can not be seen.
The Dangers of UV Rays
UV lights can cause a wide spectrum of eye health issues. Here are a few examples of what being constantly subjected to UV light rays on the slopes can result in:
- Photoconjunctivitis: This is a serious condition that comes from eye inflammation in the cornea that is sometimes treated with an eye serum. These tissues actually become ‘sunburnt.’ While serious, this condition is treatable and can be reduced. The higher the altitude you experience this damage, the worse the condition could become.
- Cataracts: Blindness is caused by a multitude of issues, but the leading disease that leads to it is cataracts. The lens of the eye becomes clouded over because most of the color pigment proteins are broken down by the UV light. Cataracts can occur in young people, although it is most common in older folks. Almost 20% of cataracts come from over-exposure to UV light.
- Dry Eye: Dry eyes are a lesser concern, but are a great discomfort. It is not easily solvable, especially in cold, dry conditions.
- Eye Cancer:Melanoma is the most commonly occurring type of cancer of the eye. It comes from years of exposure to the sun, and with the heavy reflectability of snow, can happen more quickly to those riding the slopes without protection.
Ways to Protect Your Eyes
The key is to protect your eyes and stop the UV Rays from touching them. UV sunglasses or goggles will aid in this. Even if you wear prescription glasses, there are many that have built-in UV protective lenses, but prescription sunglasses are still the way to go.
These polarized lenses filter UV light and block it from reaching your eyes, as well as reducing the light’s glare. There is nothing worse than experiencing snow-blindness when skiing. It is not only dangerous to yourself, but others on the slopes as well.
To Sum It Up
Snow and Ice are gorgeous nature wonders, but they are dangerous to our eyes if you appear at the slopes unprepared. Always take pride in your health and safety. Do this by taking the proper precautions before going on your exciting ski trip. Even procure an appointment with an optitricist to know further risks, or the current condition of your eyes.
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