Are your eyes ready for your ski trip?
A new apartment complex in Kazakhstan plans to include a 1,000ft ski slope, running from the roof to the ground. But, for now at least, the rest of us will have to make do with a skiing holiday in Europe.
For spectacle wearers, there are a few things to consider before you go.
On a sunny day, at altitude and on snow, your eyes will be exposed to UV and brightness in the extreme, so eye protection is a must for all skiers. Polarised lenses not only cut out the dangerous UV rays but also reflected light from the white slopes, making a sunny day more comfortable on the eye and allowing you to observe the contours of the piste. We can now make wrap-around sports sunglass lenses to prescription, so you can benefit from the clearest vision and block wind and side light. An anti-fog coating will help stop them steaming up and polycarbonate lenses mean they won’t smash if you wipe out.
Every day, or even every hour, can produce different weather conditions when you’re skiing and the light changes from one side of the mountain to the next. “Flat light” happens when the sky is cloudy and grey and the shadows on the ground disappear. It can be quite disorientating but an amber or yellow lens in your sunglasses or goggles will help you pick out the bumps and moguls.
But you can’t beat contact lenses for sport. Ideally, a contact lens for skiing will have UV protection and be very permeable to oxygen (because the air is thinner at high altitude) and retain moisture well. You’ll be going from rushing wind in your face to a hot, dry chalet so make sure you have the best contact lenses available. Blink when you’re speeding down the black runs or your eyes will water. Daily disposable lenses are the easiest thing to take on holiday as there are no solutions to carry with them.
Short-sighted people may also be able to correct their vision overnight with orthokeratology (or Eyedream lenses). These are worn at night and removed in the morning, so you can be free from glasses and contact lenses during the day. They gently reshape the front surface of the eye while you sleep – a great alternative to laser surgery.
Cottam and Glaister are offering 15% off all ski-wear throughout December, including Red Bull Racing, Nike and Adidas eyewear.