Optometrists issue warning to older motorists to get an eyesight check this winter.
The Association of Optometrists are reminding motorists to take extra care by sharing winter driving advice as latest research reveals most optometrists (85%) continue to see patients whose vision falls below the legal standard, with over half (56%) reporting that they’ve seen more patients driving without an up-to-date prescription after delaying their sight test during the pandemic.
In a recent survey of 1127 optometrists 60% reported seeing patients who are unable to meet the required driving standard using glasses or contact lenses, but continue to drive. And half (49%) of optometrists’ state that the public are simply
unaware of the dangers of driving with poor vision.
“Being able to see clearly is essential to safe driving – it’s not just about what’s happening in the road immediately in front of you – poor vision impacts your ability to read road signs, see what’s happening in your peripheral vision, as well slowing your reaction times.”
The Association has six tips for safer driving in winter:
Take an eyesight test
You should have your eyes tested at least every two years, or more often if recommended or you feel your eyesight has changed in any way and you may need an up-to-date prescription.
Keep your windscreen and headlights clean
While cleaning the windscreen is easy to do, road visibility is also affected by dirty headlights in mist, fog or darkness.
Don’t look straight at oncoming headlights
Looking directly at oncoming headlights can leave you dazzled for up to five seconds. Avoid looking at the headlights of oncoming traffic if possible. If it does happen slow down and, if possible, stop driving until these effects have worn off.
Wear the right eyewear
Low-lying sun in the winter can make driving very difficult. It is good practice to carry prescription sunglasses with you in the car during winter as well as summer months.
The Association of Optometrists is encouraging support for its Don’t swerve a sight test campaign, which first launched in 2017, and is designed to encourage all drivers to have regular sight tests.
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk