Preventing Snow Blindness

 

If you are in a snow covered landscape survival will be difficult enough while you are operating at your best, it will be nearly impossible if you lose your sight.  Snow blindness is a preventable injury that happens in snow covered terrain or during a daytime blizzard, the sun’s light is reflected off of every white surface which causes damage to your eyes until you finally can’t see anything.  If this happens to you, you will be unable to navigate, and in extreme cases, you won’t even be able to gather wood for a fire which could quickly lead to death.  But snow blindness can be prevented if you make yourself snow goggles, which can be done from material available in the wilderness, here’s how.

 

  • As with so many other bushcraft items, it is preferable to have birch bark, but any flexible bark will work. Cardboard or leather will also work if you have them.
  • Cut a piece of bark or other available material into a rectangle that is about 10 inches by 6 inches. You can use your hands to measure this since your head is likely to be in proportion to your hands.  One side should be a little longer than your hand is wide when your fingers are spread, the other side should be just a little larger than your hand is when your fingers are not spread.
  • Find the center of the rectangle and remove a triangle cut that will accommodate your nose. It is better to remove a little and then check the fit, you don’t want to cut too much and waste your material.
  • Measure 2 finger widths from the center of the triangle and make a horizontal slit on each side. This is what you will see through.   Each slit should be about 2 finger widths long and about 1/16 of an inch wide.
  • Hold it to your face to see if it fits and adjust it as needed.
  • Make a small hole in the rectangle at each end in the center, run cordage through this hole to secure the goggles to your head.

Not having goggles in the snow can be as dangerous as not having boots.  It could cost you your life, so always bring goggles with you when you are planning on being in snowy conditions and be prepared to make some if you are caught off guard.

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