What is snow blindness?
The medical term for snow blindness is photokeratitis. Photo means light and keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea. Snow blindness is the result of your cornea being akin to sunburned. Photokeratitis is caused by damage to the eye from UV rays. Sunlight is the main source of natural UV rays . Unlike sunburn on your skin, symptoms of snow blindness indicate you’ve already been in the sun for too long.
Despite what the name suggests, you don't need to be in the presence of snow to be affected by snow blindness. Other terms for snow blindness include corneal flash burn, arc eye, welder's flash and sand man's eye.
Snow itself can reflect more than 80 per cent of UV rays. Extreme sports such as mountain climbing, snowboarding and skiing are done in high altitude where the sun UV's rays are more potent. At higher altitudes there is more snow and attached to this is the common term “Snow blindness”. You can still get snow blindness at lower altitudes, although the risk is much less, almost half in fact.
Other sources of snow blindness can include UV rays off sunbeds or sparks from welding.