Specsavers Opticians advises winter sports enthusiasts on eyecare

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Specsavers is reminding winter sports travellers to safeguard their sight against alpine sun and to wear adequate protection against harmful exposure to UV rays.

Rays on the piste are heightened by glare, which occurs when light is intensified as it reflects off the bright, shiny surface of the snow.

Specsavers Opticians are reminding winter sports travellers to safeguard their sight against the alpine sun with the advise that not all sunglasses or ski goggles offer adequate protection.

Excessive exposure to UV rays on high altitude slopes can cause a painful irritation to the cornea, at the front of the eye. Photokeratitis, a form of sunburn more commonly known as snow blindness, can lead to age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and even ocular tumours.

Paul Carroll, director of professional services at Specsavers Opticians, says: ‘Rays on the piste are heightened by glare, which occurs when light is intensified as it reflects off the bright, shiny surface of the snow. A sandy beach or calm sea will have the same effect. So if your sunglasses or goggles do not provide adequate protection, your eyes will be exposed to more UV than usual and will suffer more damage. Excessive exposure can lead to optical health problems.’

As well as causing damage to the eyes, sunlight also ages the skin around them. The natural reaction to bright sunlight is to screw up the eyes, straining the surrounding facial muscles. This causes temporary crow’s feet which become permanent once the skin’s elastin fibres become damaged by exposure to UV rays.

Specsavers offers winter sun eyecare tips for sports enthusiasts skiing and snowboarding:

  •     Always use effective sun protection both for prescription and non-prescription glasses¹
  •     Ensure lenses bear the CE kite mark and are UV400 effective. Specsavers stores can run a free UV check
  •     Wear sunglasses even on days with cloud and sun, as UV rays penetrate cloud
  •     Try to avoid the sun between 10am and 2pm, when UV rays are most intense
  •     Wear big lenses for even more protection
  •     Invest in photochromic lenses that instantly adapt to light changes, darkening in bright light
  •     Add polarised lenses to decrease the amount of glare in the mountains, which can dazzle and strainvision, but be aware that they make it more difficult to distinguish the detailed surface of snow when skiing
  •     Wear sunglasses over contact lenses as their UV protection does not cover the whole of the eye and cornea
  •     Ensure that sunglasses fit properly before travel
  •     If travelling with prescription sunglasses, it is advised that patients carry their opticians phone number. If sunglasses break, opticians can send a patient's prescription to an optician nearby optician to replace sunglasses while abroad

Specsavers offers a range of prescription sunglasses and can tint lenses in brown, grey, green and blue for use in any Specsavers frames from the £25 range up to designer collections. Polarised lenses will cut the amount of glare caused by the sun, while photochromic lenses adapt to light conditions, for comfortable vision in bright light and shade plus 100% UV protection.

To book an eye examination or to find your nearest Specsavers, please call 0800 068 0241 or log onto http://www.specsavers.co.uk.

¹ The European Standard for sunglasses protection is BSEN 1836:1997

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Specsavers Opticians http://www.specsavers.co.uk

For more information, please contact:
Jordanne Young, Chantel Richman or Gareth Anderson
T: 020 7053 6000
E: nationalspecsavers(at)onlybeattie(dot)com

Specsavers notes to editors                                 

  •     Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  •     The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  •     Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  •     Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group was £1.36 billion for 2009/10 and is forecast to reach £1.55 billion in 2010/11.
  •     Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  •     Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  •     Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the tenth year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2011
  •     More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * – 9,700,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2009
  •     Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK *
  •     Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  •     Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offers a hearing service from more than 400 locations
  •     Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. During its three-year support for Diabetes UK it raised more than £250,000 to fund various projects
  •     Since 2003 more than a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas, for use in developing countries. Specsavers has raised over £370,000 for the charity since 2006, with almost £245,000 going towards its work in Zambia.

*GfK NOP

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Anna Reich
Beattie Communications
0207 053 6000
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