Road safety charity Brake warns that each year, over 3,000 casualties are caused by drivers with eyesight impairments. Specifically contact lens wearers with diagnosed eye conditions are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. This might seem daunting but it’s nothing to worry about: there are many steps you can take to keep your journeys safe and your eyes comfortable.
Vision Direct’s Brendan O’Brien, leading optician and member of the General Optical Council, shares with us the top tips to ensure we’re safe on the road:
The key issue here is inadequate testing. Drivers are currently legally required to take an eye test when they take their driving exam, but it’s a very basic, short-distance test. And if you pass, then you’re all good and you are never technically required to take another eye test. This means that one could be driving their entire lives without having their eyesight examined properly.
At Vision Direct, we are big fans of regular eye testing, but we know many people might not be aware of the key role their eyesight holds in the quality of their life. The most common eye conditions take effect gradually, making it harder to notice until their vision has deteriorated significantly.
It’s a fast-moving world and everyone’s living busy lives, so it’s easy to become accustomed to slow changes in your vision. But every little counts when it comes to driving, particularly in the city. It’s vital to ensure you’re looking after your eyes proactively, wearing the right contact lenses or glasses, from reputable brands and trusted retailers.
To lens, or not to lens
Without a doubt, contact lenses give you full freedom of movement, so you can let your hands focus on steering the wheel. Glasses could fog up and would require considerable readjusting, whether lenses are fuss-free: simply follow the directions on your prescription and hit the road.
Daily disposable contact lenses are loved by many, for their low maintenance and comfort. You wear a fresh pair every day, meaning it’s easy to adhere to the hygiene rules and avoid protein build-ups.
But no matter how user-friendly lenses can be, there are still a few environmental factors worth keeping in mind, in order to stay safe on the road. Firstly: glare.
It’s important to protect your eyes against UV damage: wearing sunglasses over your contacts will minimise the glare of the sun, which drives us (pun intended) crazy. Sunglasses can also help protect your eyes against air conditioning, as it has a tendency to dry out your eyes.
The two most common eye conditions & how they can affect driving
Astigmatism: An astigmatism means that the cornea takes an elongated shape, making the way it refracts light uneven, resulting in blurred vision and difficulty when driving. The symptoms here may not be very obvious so regular testing is the only way to take action as soon as possible. A favourite among astigmatism-havers are toric contact lenses, as typical spherical lenses often don’t fit the eye comfortably.
Presbyopia: The older you are, the more difficult it can be for the muscles in your eye to focus on close-up objects. As this is a condition typically observed on people above the age of 40, it’s possible for someone to have been driving for years before realising their vision has been on the decline. Multifocal lenses are best for treating presbyopia, allowing the wearer to have the right amount of correction in the parts of the eye that need it most.
For more information check out the Vision Direct website here
19th September 2019