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Hikers with 'snow-blindness' rescued from mountains
A GROUP of eight hikers, five of whom are children, were airlifted to safety from a mountain range in Castilla y León yesterday after suffering 'snow-blindness', the Guardia Civil reveals.
They were initially taken to the Elola hikers' centre by the police force's mountain rescue squad after becoming lost and unable to see where they were going, but none of them was able to leave the building because of their impaired vision.
As a result, they were flown by helicopter to the town of Hoyos del Espino in the same province – Ávila – where they were attended to by medical professionals.
The three adults and the children had been out walking in the Sierra de Gredos, where the highest peak – the Almanzor – stands at 2,592 metres above sea-level.
'Snow-blindness' occurs as a result of UV rays reflecting off the bright white, causing temporary visual impairment and conjunctivitis.
Even before 'snow-blindness' sets in, focusing on a blanket of white, especially at high altitudes and in the sun, is similar to staring into a bright light and leaves people uncomfortably dazzled.
Ski goggles which are specially adapted to filter out the snow brightness without darkening the view or misting up during snowfall, rain or hail, should be worn in these conditions, or at least a good pair of sunglasses.
Photograph by the Guardia Civil
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