DRIVING AND VISION
Key Facts about Driving and Vision
A major concern for many of our patients is driving, and many have questions about the driving standards and ensuring they are safe and comfortable on the road. We have specific products to help you when you’re behind the wheel, and we're happy to offer help and advice. Please see our pages on lenses for coatings and lens designs which help with driving.
During the course of an eye examination we assess your vision, with and without glasses or contact lenses. In the UK you must be able to read, with your specs or lenses as necessary – a car number plate (made after 1st September 2001) from 20 metres. You must demonstrate this on your practical driving test in order to pass. The police have the power to require a driver, at any time, to undertake an eyesight test in good daylight.
The Importance of Regular Sight Tests
There are many eye health conditions that could reduce your quality of vision below the standard regulations if left undiagnosed and untreated. Macular Degeneration, Cataracts and Glaucoma are just some of the issues which cloud your vision slowly and lead towards severe loss of sight.
Glaucoma in particular has no symptoms in the early stages so you should have your eyes checked regularly. The Glaucoma Association estimate that there are 600,000 people living with Glaucoma in the UK, although 300,000 of those are undiagnosed and may not be driving safely.
On average there are 3000 casualties each year from drivers having poor vision. By driving with affected vision you are at serious risk of endangering not only yourself but others on the road as well. It’s an offence to drive with vision below the required standard. If you do so and you’re involved in a fatal accident then you could be imprisoned.
To ensure that you're safe to drive, you must tell the DVLA if you’ve got any problems with your eyesight that affects either of your eyes. It’s only with regular eye health checks that people will know if their driving vision is affected, especially because many eye health conditions develop slowly. Most adults will need their eyes checked every one or two years depending on whether they suffer from any conditions or require a prescription.
If you’re concerned about your safety on the roads have a chat with your Optometrist, or our friendly team, so please call us.