Sunburn of the cornea: Protect eyes with ski goggles during winter sports

Sunburn of the cornea: Protect eyes with ski goggles during winter sports

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Protect eyes from injury: tips for buying ski goggles

Winter is slowly but surely coming to Germany. Passionate winter athletes in particular should remember to protect their eyes - otherwise there is a risk of burns to the cornea. Experts have some tips for buying ski goggles.

Protection from UV rays

Finaly snow! Many winter sports enthusiasts can hardly wait to finally go skiing in the mountains. But those who go on a winter vacation without the right ski goggles risk burns to the cornea of ​​the eye. Because the white snow in the winter sports areas reflects the incident, high-energy ultraviolet (UV) light much more than other backgrounds. Skiers, in particular, should definitely note that their eyes need protection from UV rays. The German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) advises all winter vacationers to wear well-fitting, all-round closed ski goggles with a UV filter.

The cornea of ​​the eye can get sunburned

White ski slopes and snowy landscapes attract hikers and winter sports enthusiasts out into the mountains. But the glaring sunlight in the winter sports areas is dangerous for the eyes:

Every 1,000 meters of altitude, the UV radiation increases by around 20 percent and the snow reflects this radiation again by up to 85 percent.

"Just like the skin on the body, the cornea of ​​the eye can get sunburnt if it is exposed to intense UV light," explains Professor Dr. med. Thomas Reinhard, Secretary General of the DOG in a communication.

In case of aching eyes in a dark room

The light kills the cells on the cornea of ​​the eye. Six to eight hours later there is stinging pain and a strong feeling of a foreign body; the eyes swell and water.

"Those affected then react very sensitively to light and can hardly keep their eyes open," says Reinhard, describing the symptoms of so-called snow blindness.

“Winter sports enthusiasts with aching eyes should not only go out of the sun immediately, but best to stay in dark rooms,” emphasizes the DOG expert.

The ophthalmologist can prescribe ointments or gels that soothe the burned cornea. Since the cornea is constantly regenerating, the symptoms usually disappear after two to three days.

UV radiation increases the risk of chronic eye problems

If you regularly expose your eyes to intense sunlight, you risk long-term damage: "UV radiation increases the risk of chronic eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration - a disease that can make people blind," says Reinhard.

To protect yourself from these diseases, the director of the Freiburg University Eye Clinic advises you to wear ski goggles. "Normal sunglasses do not catch the light coming in from the side and do not protect the eyes from falls," says the ophthalmologist.

For people with poor eyesight, there are, in addition to contact lenses, appropriate ski goggles and so-called "clip-in glasses" that are attached to the inside of the ski goggles.

"In principle, winter vacationers should get advice on buying ski goggles from specialist retailers," says Reinhard.

Checklist for good ski goggles

The glasses should absorb all UV rays up to a wavelength of 400 nanometers. As with sunglasses, ski goggles with the appropriate broadband UV protection have the CE mark.

The glasses should completely cover the eye area so that no UV light falls into the eyes from the side.

Ski goggle lenses should be made of shatter-proof plastic and at least double-glazed so that the eyes are protected by the inner pane if the outer pane breaks in the event of a fall.

An anti-fog coating ensures that the glasses do not fog up too quickly.

Tinting the lenses can improve visibility in difficult lighting conditions: gray lenses offer glare protection on sunny days, reddish tints increase contrasts in poor lighting conditions. Yellow discs are best suited for cloudy weather or at dusk. (ad)

Author and source information

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