By David Saunders | UPDATED: 05:28, 12 February 2020
Whether you’re heading to the slopes for the very first time this half term, or you’re au fait with après ski, it’s important to bear in mind that exposure to winter sun can take its toll on your eyes.
Although you’ll be keen to take in those blissful, panoramic views from the mountain tops, the combination of altitude, winds, bright sunlight and cold temperatures can impact your eye health and even risk your safety.
The biggest culprit for affecting your eyes on the slopes is powerful, UV light. The huge masses of white, reflective snow on the mountains and clear atmospheres experienced at high altitude work in partnership to intensify levels of UV light, making it more likely to enter and burn your eyes.
While the effects of this are temporary, they can cause serious discomfort. Taking some simple steps to protect your vision will mean you don’t end up remembering your trip for all the wrong reasons.
According to Angela Wiggins, clinical & business development director at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, there are some tell-tale signs your eyes have been exposed to too much UV light on the slopes. These include:
· Eye pain
· Burning or red eyes
· A gritty sensation to your eyes
· Sensitivity to light
· Watery eyes
· Blurred vision
· Swollen eyes or eye lids
· Glare or ‘halos’ around lights
Angela advises: “Winter sun can make for a very special getaway, but it can also be the cause of damage to the eyes which, if not treated, can put a skier or snowboarder at risk or even ruin their entire holiday.
“To prevent photokeratitis, also known as “snow blindness” – a common phrase for the effects we might feel when on the slopes – holiday goers should wear sunglasses or goggles that block 100 per cent of the sun’s UV rays, whenever they are outside during daylight hours. Some sunglasses even include a wrap-around feature that protect from indirect as well as direct sunlight.
“Snow or sport goggles with side shields or rubber ribs which completely block sunlight offer maximum protection from sunbeams hitting the eyes from the front, sides, above and below. Remember that UV rays penetrates clouds, so there is a risk of damage to the eyes even on cloudy days.”
If you do succumb to the power of the sun this half term ski trip, you should:
· Remove contact lenses and avoid using them until your eyes have healed
· Stay indoors, wearing sunglasses at all times
· Keep eyes moist with an eye mist or eye drops from a pharmacy or opticians
· Place a damp, cool facecloth on your eyes
· If the pain is extreme, seek pain relief, using only trusted brands and adhering to quantities stated
For more information about eye conditions, including conjunctivitis, visit: https://www.bayfieldsopticians.com/.