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Dear Patients,

We are pleased to inform you that our office is now resuming our regular business hours for appointments. Of utmost importance to us is to continue to provide exceptional eye care in an environment that is safe for our patients and entire Monji Optometry team. We have taken great measures to prepare and implement COVID-19 safety protocols guided by resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the California Optometric Association (COA).

We want to share our new safety practices and let you know what you will expect when you come to our office.

  • Our front door will remain locked and only opened to those with appointments. To limit the number of people, all patient encounters will be by appointment, including glasses pickups, adjustments and repairs. Our schedule has been adjusted to allow spacing of people in any given area in our office.
  • We ask that adult patients arrive alone for an appointment. Minor patients may be accompanied by one adult.
  • If you are new to our office, to help us be prepared for your arrival we ask you to submit the “Patient History Form” found on our website under “Patient Forms” before your appointment. Please don’t forget to bring your latest eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.
  • Our staff and patients are required to wear masks. When you arrive, you will be asked COVID-19 screening questions and your temperature will be taken by a non-contact thermometer at the door. If your temperature is over 100 degrees, we will reschedule your appointment.
  • Upon entering, you will be immediately directed to wash your hands. We are practicing safe distancing and ask that you mindfully keep a 6 foot distance between other patients.
  • Plexiglass barrier shields have been placed at our reception desk and tables for eyeglass frame selection to allow safe interaction between you and staff. Protection shields have also been outfitted on examination instruments.
  • Our staff has been trained on CDC procedures to diligently keep touched surfaces, instrumentation and overall office clean and disinfected following each patient and regularly throughout each day. This includes disinfecting eyeglass frames.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Best regards for your continued health and safety!

Monji Optometry

Our office is located in downtown Burbank across from the Kabuki & Shake Shack restaurants.
Call (818) 629-0229
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Home » What's New » Sunburned Eyes? Beware of Snow Blindness!

Sunburned Eyes? Beware of Snow Blindness!

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Playing outside in a snowy winter wonderland can be magical. Under clear skies in the sunshine, the soft white landscape becomes just about irresistible, whether at home or travelling on a winter-weather get-away. 

Before you let your children run outside to build the most adorable snowman or fling themselves onto the ski slopes, make sure their eyes are well protected. Sun and snow can be a dangerous combination for both the eyes and skin. 

Sunlight Reflected in the Snow

We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season. 

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun. 

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Can I Get Sunburned Eyes?

As you may have already guessed, yes —it is possible to get sunburned eyes. The condition is called snow blindness, or photokeratitis. Although most people do not actually experience permanent vision loss, photokeratitis is usually painful, causes extreme sensitivity to light, and can take up to two weeks to fully heal. 

A single day of playing outside in the snow and being exposed to intensive sun glare can be enough to cause snow blindness— though usually with a delay of several hours following sun exposure. What’s worse, if the eyes are repeatedly sunburned there is a risk of long-term damage. 

Symptoms of Snow Blindness

Just like a typical skin sunburn appears only after having been exposed to the sun’s rays, the same is true for the eyes. One sign of overexposure to UV is a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, or a feeling of having sand in your eyes after a day spent in the snow. 

When eyes are sunburned, they become highly sensitive to light, making it difficult to be outside. Other symptoms include blurred vision, watery eyes, and swollen eyelids. In rare cases, photokeratitis can even cause temporary vision loss, but it doesn't usually last longer than a day or two.

How Do I Protect My Eyes From Sunburn?

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. An even more effective solution for winter activities is to strap on a pair of well-fitting UV protective sports eyewear, such as ski goggles. Wrap-around styles are ideal because they stay on even when you're active, and block the sun’s rays from entering your eyes from the sides too. 

For winter sports lovers, there are plenty of good reasons to wear protective eyewear, and what works well in sports can be good for play as well. 

How Can I Treat Sunburned Eyes?

It’s after the fact, and you’re suffering from photokeratitis… now what? Give your eyes a rest. 

  • Stay out of the sun for a few days until the symptoms die down. 
  • You may find it comforting to wear sunglasses even when indoors. 
  • For additional relief, place a cool, damp cloth over the closed eyelids while resting.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses until the eyes return to normal. 
  • Artificial tears can help keep the eyes moistened, soothe discomfort and promote healing. However, it's important to consult an eye doctor before running to the pharmacy, since some eye drops are not well-suited for this condition. You can give us a call at 818-848-6659.

Now that you know the risks and precautions to take, you’re all set to enjoy the winter wonderland! Dr. Gary Monji at Monji Optometry is happy to help you protect yourself and your family from snow blindness, and offers expert treatment for sunburned eyes.