Skiers were issued with a new warning today by Britain’s College of Optometrists, who urge wintersporters to make sure they are properly protecting their eyes in resorts.
Remember snow is so reflective the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are much more powerful on the slopes than elsewhere – posing a risk to eye health.
Dr Susan Blakeney, the College’s clinical adviser explains: “It’s important skiers wear goggles or sunglasses specifically designed for winter sports, and are made to the relevant safety standard to ensure they absorb sufficient UV.
“UV exposure is cumulative so although you may not feel any immediate effects you could be putting yourself at risk of long-term damage as sunlight can damage the retina and lens of the eye, increasing the long-term risk of developing conditions such as cataracts and possibly AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). If you are not sure of the best protective eyewear for you, ask your optometrist before travelling.”
Here are Dr Blakeney’s top tips for snowsporters:
- CHOOSE goggles if possible – sunlight can bounce off the snow and sunglasses may not provide sufficient all-round protection.
- DON’T forget about your children – their eyes transmit more UV than adult eyes.
- IF YOU choose sunglasses, buy good quality, specially-designed FOR skiing and ensure they comply with the safety standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, or are made by a reputable manufacturer and contain the CE mark.
- There are four categories of tint in the BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013 standard. Category 4 (the darkest) is designed for protection against extreme sun-glare for example over snowfields or on high mountains.
- Choose eyewear that fits comfortably – make sure it is the right size for you, and unlikely to fall off in the event of sudden movements or higher winds. Wear a hat covering the rim of your glasses to protect your eyes from the rays shining directly above your head.
- People who wear glasses can wear sunglasses too – sunglasses can be made up to any prescription.
For a great pair of goggles, try Melon Optics as seen in the picture above