Snow blindness is a disease of the eye which is caused by the exposure of the unprotected eyes from the ultraviolet rays of the sun that may be reflected from snow, sea or sand. It is also called as ultraviolet keratitis. This eye problem is a common case in polar regions and at high altitudes because at great elevation UV rays increase b 4 %. In snow blindness, the cornea is in the state of sunburn. Symptoms from painful teary eyes to swelling of the eyes to a permanent vision loss for severe cases will only be visible after several hours upon exposure.
To prevent UV keratitis, people are encouraged to wear sunglasses that should protect the eyes in full without letting any unwanted light exposures and absorb most of the UV rays. Treatment for snow blindness occurs as anesthetics in the form of eye drops and ointments. Cold compresses ma also be applied. Upon experiencing this, the person must be isolated in a dark room, make sure that contact lenses are removed, must not irritate the eyes in any form and must wear the sun glasses until the symptoms disappear completely.
Consultation to an ophthalmologist is not really needed for mild cases. But, if the healing has not yet occurred after one to two days, one may better consider this as one of the severe cases and my rush to see an emergency physician in the ED. Complications such as super infection and loss of vision are very rare cases. And the patients are expected to recover over 24 to 76 hours prior to the application of primary treatment due to corneal damage.