Hereford-based middle distance triathlete Jemima Cooper says her eyesight has been “revolutionised” by the support of BBR Optometry in her ambitions to become a full-time professional athlete.
Twenty-two-year-old Jemima, who is in her final year studying BSc Psychology at the University of Bath, turned to triathlon competitions in 2017 after deciding to move away from a professional classical ballet career.
She now competes in some of the toughest middle-distance triathlons, undertaking gruelling training in order to be the best in the sport’s disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.
In 2018 BBR Optometry, based in her home town of Hereford, became her official eyewear sponsor, embarking on the development of a range of bespoke TD Tom Davis frames and Visamesh lenses to support her in her climb of the podium ladders at events throughout the UK and Europe.
“We have been developing and formulating some sports specs that ensure I can see clearly in some of the most challenging racing conditions,” said Jemima.
“We are now on our second prototype and we have just about nailed the design. We started off from scratch- I told Daniel of the real difficulties I’ve had to find the right pair of sunglasses as well as the demands I put on my gear (as much as my body!) during racing.
“My sunglasses have to be able to survive two speedy transitions. The first is a transition from wetsuit and swim gear into my cycle gear and helmet, meaning glasses have to be robust, flexible and easy to whip on at rapid speed.
“They have to have a good level of clarity and contrasts so that on the bike I am able to see the profile of the road (and avoid any nasties). The glasses have to fit under my helmet and ensure that they don’t give me blind spots whilst I ride my 90km in time trial bike positioning. “
Tests on the first prototype were undertaken during competitions.
“The first pair I tested at the Middle European Championship 2018 in Ibiza where I medalled. A great first trial and an important first step to get to where we are now with the current design. Lots of tweaks, lots of feedback and lots of measuring later and prototype 2 is a very exciting one,” said Jemima.
“In the top levels of sport, everything counts, from the number of lengths you swim up and down in the pool, to the trainers I wear, the muscle strengthening exercises and yep, you guessed it, your sunglasses. That is why I feel so grateful and excited to have been part of designing the ‘perfect pair’.”
BBR Optometry is no stranger to designing and providing patients with bespoke frames and lenses for a range of sporting, leisure and professional uses.
The practice is one of a small number of UK optometrists that form part of an exclusive network selling custom-made and ready-to-wear TD Tom Davies spectacle frames from their St Owen Street practice.
Daniel Read, practice manager at BBR Optometry, said working with Jemima had provided the practice with an insight into the demands facing athletes who need dedicated eyewear.
“Jemima is in her final year of university while juggling the strenuous training regime she has to do as part of her drive to succeed in her sport. As she moves into becoming a full-time athlete over the next year, it is imperative she has the best possible advantage to winning,” he said.
“Our work in developing bespoke frames and choosing the right lenses is ensuring she can do just that. We’ve had a lot of experience with other patients who undertake sports such as cycling, running, golf and other demanding activities. So, our knowledge here has helped.