Outdoor Situations: How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?

With the wild weather outside, today might be a great time to talk about …


You and some friends have had a great day out in the snow!   It’s late in the

'Fun in the Sun' Calls for Quality Sunglasses Year Round!

afternoon when suddenly, Jim calls out that his eyes feel like he has grit in them and he is seeing red.

The group soon realizes that Jim is experiencing snowblindness.  It will be dark soon; what should you do?

Your Choices

For the conditions outlined here, which of these 3 possibilities is the best solution?

1) Someone offers to stay with  Jim while the rest of you go back and get help.

2) Cover Jim’s eyes and lead him back home as quickly as possible.

3) Wait until Jim’s snowblindness passes.

A Few Facts About Snowblindness

  • Snowblindness is an eye injury that can be serious and can be permanent!
  • It is caused by the reflected sunlight off of ice, snow or water.
  • Essentially, it sunburns the cornea of the eye.
  • Symptoms include:  dry eyes, headaches, seeing red, dizziness, swelling of the eyelids, pain.

The Solution

Snowblindness Occurs Most Often on Sunny Days, But Can Happen on Cloudy Days Too!

Jim’s snowblindness is not going to pass as long as he is out in the sun.  Therefore, waiting won’t help.  So neither 1 or 3 will work.

He needs to get inside quickly; into a darkened room until his eyes recover.  Covering his eyes while he travels home is important; his eyes can start to recover because he is no longer looking at the reflected light from the snow and ice.

How to Avoid Snowblindness

  • Wear quality sunglasses with at least 90% UV absorption.
  • Reduce glare by smudging the area under the eyes with charcoal (think football players).

Another Tip

Use a cool, damp cloth on the eyes.  Applying a hot, damp cloth to the eyes only increases the pain!


Tomorrow: 10 Tips for Hiking in the Wilderness


Occasionally: I’ll pose another ‘Outdoor Situation’ with Some Tips


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Outdoor Situations: How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?  
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