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Protecting your eyes on a skiing holiday

Written by Fiona

November 20 2019

Skiers and snowboarders will be looking forward to a bumper winter season and a holiday on the snow is a great way to stay fit and spend time outdoors. However, there are some safety measures that you should take, especially when spending time in bright sunshine. The combination of sunshine and snow can be dangerous for your eyes if you do not take the necessary precautions.

Having clear, sharp vision on your skiing holiday is crucial to staying safe and keeping others safe, too, and wearing the right glasses for sports is hugely beneficial. With that in mind, what are the dangers to your eyes and how can you protect them?

Bright sunlight and snow means you should wear good quality lenses in sports sunglasses. Credit: Christian-ter-maat

How the sun and snow can affect your eyes

It is important that your eyes are protected from the sun because overexposure to UV light can cause damage. Longer-term eye problems that can be caused by sun damage include cataracts and macular degeneration, where there is a gradual loss of central vision.

Sunlight also reflect off of the bright white of the snow’s surface and creates glare. The light becomes concentrated horizontally, which makes it difficult to see. This can be distracting and uncomfortable, and it can cause safety issues if you can’t see clearly while skiing.

Another vision problem you may experience on the slopes is snow blindness, also known as photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is a painful condition that includes temporary loss of vision, essentially due to a sunburned cornea

This happens when you experience overexposure to the sun’s rays, although it can also occur due to the sun’s reflection from snow. This is why it is often called snow blindness. The symptoms are usually only noticeable after the damage has been done; much like sunburn when your skin goes red and sore.

Wear sunglasses or ski goggles at all times when ski touring or downhill skiing or snowboarding.

How to protect your eyes

You can protect your vision against over-exposure to UV rays, glare and photokeratitis by taking the right preventative steps. By wearing the right lenses, you can protect your vision.

To tackle glare on the slopes, you need a pair of good quality sunglasses, as well as skiing goggles (to suit different weather conditions). The lenses should offer high levels of UV protection.

You might also choose to buy glasses with polarized. These lenses are designed with a unique filter that will block out the blinding glare caused by reflected light. As glare is caused by horizontal light, polarised lenses will only allow vertical light through, resulting in much more comfortable and enhanced vision.

You should also consider investing in sunglasses that are optimised for the right type of frames when on the slope. Wrap-around sunglasses are very popular for keeping steady on your head when flying down the mountain. If you need to wear varifocals or single vision lenses in order to see clearly when skiing or snowboarding, consider having your corrective lenses put into frames like these for additional help.

Keeping your eyes safe from the sun is vital for long-term eye health and also a good idea for being able to see more clearly while skiing or snowboarding.

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