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Drivers should take a mandatory eyesight test at age 59 to confirm road safety

Monday, September 2, 2019 - 09:14
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If you’ve bragged about not having to wear glasses or contact lenses yet, it’s about time to get off your eyehorse… The NHS* confirms that almost all of us will need visual aids by the time we’re 65! On average, our eye muscles begin weakening when we hit age 45. This can have a drastic impact on daily activities such as reading, writing and driving a car – all of which become difficult if you can’t see clearly.

GEM- Driver eyesight testing

GEM- Driver eyesight testing

Pure Optical, online retailer of contact lenses, conducted a survey of 2,800 Brits in order to find out what age they think it should be mandatory to take an eyesight test certifying that drivers are safe to navigate a vehicle.

Overall across the UK, it was found that respondents said drivers should have their eyesight tested at age 59 – a wee while before the average retirement age of 65! The good news is that if you’re 60 or over, the NHS provides a free eyesight test as often as you need one. This is usually every 2 years, but your optometrist will advise you accordingly.

The survey also found that nearly a third (29.5%) of drivers don’t think that the eyesight check at the beginning of a driving test is sufficient enough to test a learner’s vision. Currently in the UK, you only need to be able to read a number plate from 20.5 metres away to ensure your eyesight is adequate enough to drive. Interestingly, however, 55% of Brits were unaware of this! In fact, over one-fifth (21%) thought it was 10m; 16% said 30m; 4% believed it was 40m and 14% thought it was as far as 50 metres.

Prolonging the Problem?The average Brit also said that if there was a problem with their eyesight, they would wait around 4 months to see an optometrist!

The law says that it is illegal to drive without your glasses if you need them, but when asked this, one fifth were completely unaware.

The survey also asked what the reasons might be for not wearing glasses whilst driving. Nearly half (48%) said it’s because they forget to bring them with and 30% said it’s because they didn’t think it was important to wear their glasses while driving. Over one-fifth (21%) said they feel uncomfortable wearing glasses and 1% don’t like the way they look.

Luckily though, a majority (78%) of people would force their family members to have an eyesight test to ensure they were driving safely on the roads, should they think it necessary.

More than half of Brits (57%) also think that a driver who requires glasses, and who causes an accident whilst not wearing them, should receive the same punishment as a drunk driver. In both instances, the driver is putting lives at risk due to some sort of impairment.

Respondents were also asked if they thought a driver would be covered by insurance if they got into an accident whilst not wearing their prescription glasses – one in ten said they thought insurance would cover the claim. However, the fact that it’s illegal means that driving without your glasses will invalidate your insurance.

‘Having your eyes tested regularly is of vital importance to your safety, as well as that of the people around you on the road. Make sure that if you pick up any signs of blurriness or double vision, you pay a visit to your optometrist as soon as you can.’ Says Richard Hawkins of Pure Optical. ‘If you’re a forgetful person or just not a fan of old-fashioned spectacles, perhaps a pair of contact lenses would best suit your lifestyle.’


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