College of Optometrists issues advice for drivers during Road Safety Week

  • 25 Nov 2016

College advises drivers to visit their optometrist if due a sight test and launches ‘Winter Eye Health’ poster

Share options

Vision plays a vital role in driving, and whether it’s protecting your eyes from the dazzling sun or having a sight test to ensure your spectacles are up to date, as a driver it’s important that you take steps to make sure you have the best vision possible. To mark Road Safety Week, taking place from 21-27 November, the College of Optometrists has 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.

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.”


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 the poster:


Further information and advice to help look after your eyes can be found on the College’s Look After Your Eyes website.




Notes to editors:

  1. Optometrists are primary health care specialists trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and problems with general health. They make a health assessment, offer clinical advice and, when necessary, prescribe spectacles or contact lenses. In addition, optometrists can dispense and supply spectacles or contact lenses.
  2. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
  3. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists. Membership of the College shows their commitment to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards, so look for these letters to see if your optometrist is a member.
  4. For information and advice about how to look after your eyes or to find a member of the College, visit:
  5. The College of Optometrists is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. 
  6. There are currently over 14,500 registered optometrists in the UK.


Back to News

Read next...

View More

What's going on at the College