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Background

Vision plays a vital role in driving, and whether it’s protecting their eyes from the dazzling sun or having a sight test to ensure their spectacles are up to date, as a driver it’s important that they take steps to make sure they have the best vision possible.

Our advice to drivers

To mark Road Safety Week, taking place from 21-27 November, we have issued the following advice to drivers:

  • It can be difficult to see when driving during the long, dark nights of winter so it’s easy to understand why more accidents happen at night. If you are due a sight test, make sure you go to ensure you have the best possible vision.
     
  • The glare of low-lying sun on icy roads can also cause difficulty for drivers, so make sure your windscreen is clean, both inside and out.
     
  • It’s useful to have a pair of sunglasses in the car to help with the glare from the sun. If you are buying sunglasses, make sure you invest in eyewear that complies with the safety standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013 or that carry a CE mark.  Prescription sunglasses are also available.
     
  • In winter, you may have more difficulty seeing clearly.  This is because your pupils are larger in the dark than in the daylight and your depth of field decreases when pupils are large.   This means you notice blurriness more.

You can also direct your patients for further information and advice to the College’s Look After Your Eyes website.

Download the poster

To mark Road Safety Week the College has also launched a winter eye health poster, advising consumers on how to protect their eyes during the winter months. Members of the College can download this high resolution A3 size poster:

 

What our Clinical Adviser says

As part of Road Safety Week, Dr Susan Blakeney, Clinical Adviser for the College of Optometrists talked about vision and driving to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment. She said: “Having good vision is an important part of responsible driving.  At the College we advise that people over 40 should have their eyes examined at least every two years. Recent research funded by the College of Optometrists looked at contributory factors for just over one million injury-collisions. This found that car drivers aged over 60 were more likely to be involved in a crash where a contributory factor was ‘uncorrected, defective eyesight’, and that this contributory factor increased with age. The research also found that ‘dazzling sun’ was a significant issue for older drivers, so we always advise that you have a pair of sunglasses to hand in your car.”

Other resources of interest

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