A survey for Sight Care, a support network for independent opticians, has revealed that a shocking number of people in The South East may be on the roads with eyesight poor enough to fail a driving test.
November 17th to 23rd is National Road Safety week, where thousands of organisations, schools and community groups come together to highlight the dangers of the road and find ways to improve road safety.
The Sight Care survey indicates that drivers could do their bit to reduce road risk by ensuring that they can see properly.
Although the UK driving licence includes a brief sight test, after that initial check – and for the rest of their driving career – it is up to each driver to ensure he or she can see clearly behind the wheel.
The survey asked a sample of Sight Care’s independent opticians including those based in The South East what percentage of their patients who drive had poor enough eyesight to fail a driving test.
One sixth of those opticians revealed that more than ten percent of their patients, in their estimation had driven with poor eyesight. In one case, an optician questioned said that in his estimation more than half of the practice’s patients had driven with eyesight poor enough to fail a driving test.
However, the vast majority opticians in the sample (83%) discovered that fewer than ten percent of their patients drove with poor eyesight.
A huge 96% of opticians believe that eye exams should be a legal requirement for taking a driving test.
Paul Surridge is the chief executive of Sight Care and told us, “The figures show that the sight test we all have to take when trying to pass a driving test is really just the beginning. To drive responsibly on the road, we all need to have regular eye exams to make sure our eyesight is the best it can be. Independent opticians in The South East working in their local communities are ideally located to undertake thorough eye exams to ensure everyone is safe on our roads.”
The survey also found that the most common complaint from drivers (47%) was the glare caused by oncoming drivers at night and the light reflected in the mirror from the cars behind. 17% said they had difficulty seeing road signs clearly.
Marcella McParland, Director Professional Affairs UK & Ireland, Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd, added, “One way to combat this issue, particularly at night, is to use contact lenses with anti-reflective coating such as ACUVUE® OASYS® Brand Contact Lenses. Market research has found that 75% of people described their vision with ACUVUE® OASYS® Brand Contact Lenses as excellent when driving, even at night. As a result we would advise those who regularly drive to talk to their optometrist about whether they are suitable for contact lenses to help improve their vision on the road.
To find out more about the Sight Care campaign, visit www.sightcarelocal.co.uk, where you can also locate your nearest independent optician affiliated to the campaign.