The Triangle has certainly gotten its share of snow and cold temperatures in the past week, making for treacherous roads and school closings. What isn’t so obvious is that cold and snow present special challenges for eye health. On the Park Ophthalmology Facebook page, Dr. Beth R. Friedland shared a recent post about snow blindness, a condition caused by exposure to UV rays reflecting off snow and ice. Although it might seem strange to wear sunglasses during winter, they are the first line of protection against snow blindness.
Five facts to know about winter and eye health, provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
- UV rays and reflection: Snow blindness, called photokeratitis, happens when eyes are exposed to ultraviolet radiation. The reflective qualities of snow and ice increase UV radiation exposure, which is why sunglasses and snow goggles for sports are winter necessities.
- Similar to sunburn: Just as a sunburn isn’t obvious while it’s happening, snow blindness symptoms often occur after damage has been done. But instead of the skin, the burn happens to the cornea (clear cover at the front of the eye) and conjunctiva (a layer over the eyelids and whites of the eye).
- Common symptoms: Although infrequent, some people may experience temporary vision loss from snow blindness. More common symptoms include pain, redness, blurry vision, tearing, sensitivity to bright light or headaches.
- Getting diagnosed: Patients who experience any of the above symptoms or who have recently spent significant time in the outdoors, should contact Beth R. Friedland M.D. The doctor will examine the patient’s eyes and use a dye to check for UV damage.
- Treatment: Snow blindness usually clears up on its own with time. Contact lens wearers should remove lenses. Doctor Friedland can recommend the best pain reliever and whether eye drops are necessary.
Get out and have fun during the Triangle winter, just remember to protect your eyes from UV radiation. Contact Park Ophthalmology with any questions if experiencing problems. New patients are welcome.
Park Ophthalmology welcomes patients from all areas of the Triangle and offers a wide variety of specialized services including surgery for diseases of the eye, vision examinations, eye safety information, sports medicine protective eye wear and counseling, contact lenses and evaluation, and all types of ocular diagnosis and treatment. Many types of surgery are available, including cataract and laser surgery. We are here for you and your eye and overall health. Give us a call today!
This article about the vision care is brought to you by the professional team at Park Ophthalmology located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.
The information contained in this blog article is intended solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be offered as medical advice.
5306 NC Highway 55, Suite 102 (adjacent to the RTP/ Research Triangle Park)
Durham, NC 27713
Office: 919 544 5375
Fax: 919 544 5829
Park Ophthalmology North
6512 Six Forks Road, Suite 105
Raleigh, NC 27615
919 846 6915
Office Manager Jenny Whitman, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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