Having good vision is always important, but never more so than when you’re behind the wheel. In today’s post, we take a look at the dangers of driving with poor vision.

For World Sight Day 2018 we joined Essilor in bringing attention to road safety through good vision. The World Health Organisation found that in 2015 alone, road traffic accidents lead to a 3% loss of global GDP. To bring this closer to home, Essilor estimates 1.5 million UK drivers have never had their eyes tested, even though being able to see clearly, especially the road ahead, is extremely important.

What are the numbers?

A survey conducted by car insurance company, Direct Line, reported particularly concerning results. They found that out of 2003 motorists interviewed:

  • 26% had driven somewhere local without glasses or contact lenses
  • 15% had driven over 50 miles without glasses or contact lenses
  • 37% had not had an eye test in over two years

Furthermore, The Association of Optometrists carried out a survey and found that 44% of optometrists have seen patients whose eyesight is below the legal limit, yet are still driving.

What actions are being taken?

In parts of the UK such as Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands police have introduced roadside eye tests. In these tests police require drivers to read number plates from 20 metres (65ft) Since September 2018, these types of tests have helped cracked down on the number of motorists whose vision is legally not good enough.

Aside from this, charities and groups like Essilor and The Association of Optometrists have been campaigning for a change in the law that will require drivers to have their eyes tested regularly. Additionally, the DVLA have appealed to drivers to get their eyes tests following a study they conducted that found almost 50% of drivers didn’t know the minimum eyesight standards.

Interestingly, of 135 drivers who completed a questionnaire, 90% agreed that a full eye test should be part of the driver licence application process. This shows that having good vision is a concern amongst most drivers as well.

London Retro Charlie

What are the requirements?

As it stands now, when it comes to vision and being on the road, the requirements are pretty lax. When you are taking your practical driving test, you are only required to read a number plate from 20m away. However, after this, it is up to the driver to contact the DVLA if something changes with their vision. And as we know, life tends to get busy so many people do not update the DVLA or take steps to ensure their vision is good. The only other driving stipulation is for drivers over 70 who must renew their licence every 3 years and declare they still meet the medical requirements to drive.

That said, drivers of lorries, buses and other large vehicles are required to have their eyes tested and assessed every five years (and when they need to renew their licence).

How can I maintain good vision?

There are a few things you can do to make sure your eyes are in tip-top shape and that you are legally eligible to drive.

  • Eye test:
    • It’s recommended that you get your eyes tested at least once every two years. Though your vision may seem fine a test will be able to pick up unnoticeable deterioration, as well as serious illnesses like cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Wear appropriate eyewear:
    • Whenever the sun is out, it’s important you’re protecting your eyes with sunglasses. We offer different tint options so you’re able to turn your glasses into prescription sunglasses with no trouble. We also offer glasses for a range of needs including distance, reading, bifocal and varifocal.
    • Don’t want to keep switching between prescription frames and sunglasses? Why not opt for a Transitions* lens that darkens and lightens depending on light conditions. Our new Transitions XTRActive lens goes extra dark outdoors and darkens when behind car windshields to help protect your eyes while driving.
  • Protect your eyes from glare:
    • Equip your glasses with special coatings to ensure you get the most out of them. We offer a number of lens packages with anti-glare properties that alo offers visual comfort to the wearer.

In need of an eye test? We’ve found some great deals, check them out. And don’t forget we give you the option to send your prescription later if you don’t have it to hand.

Recently had your eyes tested and need glasses? Take a look at our selection of new-in frames.

Top image: Anton Darius
*Please note: Transitions Drivewear lenses are designed for daylight and daytime driving conditions just like regular sunglasses, and should not be worn at night.