This month signals the national campaign “road safety week”. This initiative was founded and is promoted yearly by Brake, a national road safety and sustainable transport charity. This year’s campaign, which we are supporting, runs from the 18th – 24th November and is entitled “step up for safe streets”.
Brake want people to learn about and promote solutions that allow everyone to travel around in safe and healthy ways. Safe journeys are achievable with a good road transport network, so human error doesn’t result in death or serious injury. It’s a shocking statistic, but someone is killed or seriously injured on a British road every twenty minutes. We’ll let that sink in for a moment.
1.5 million people have never had their eyes examined
One important area which we are supporting and promoting during this year’s campaign, is the importance of regular eye examinations. Did you know that 1.5 million people in the UK have never had an eye examination and 1 in 5 drivers have not had an eye test since passing their driving test? That’s pretty shocking, even to us.
Your eyesight can deteriorate significantly over a period of time, so people are less aware of the decline in their sight. It’s possible to lose 40% of your vision before noticing any difficulties. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have regular eye examinations, particularly when you realise that 50% of sight loss is preventable.
It’s recommended that everyone has a full eye examination every two years – even yearly if you have an associated condition, as recommended by your optometrist. However, it is also important to stress that you shouldn’t wait for your usual check-up if you find yourself experiencing any difficulties. In these situations, you should visit your optician for a consultation as soon as possible.
The law states that to be able to drive legally without any correction drivers should be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away. Unfortunately, this crude test only checks your visual acuity and not visual fields or contrast sensitivity, which are checked during a comprehensive eye examination.
We’ve invested in OCT scan technology to help detect eye conditions
Sorry to throw more figures at you, but 19% of drivers put off having an eye examination, even when they notice difficulties with their vision. This may be due to people worrying about loosing their driving licence if their eyesight has deteriorated enough to prevent them from driving legally. But the fact is, regular eye examinations could protect your driving licence as many eye conditions are treatable or manageable if detected at an early stage.
Here at Respectacle Company Opticians we have invested in the latest equipment to help detect many of these conditions in their infancy. The technology is called Optical Coherence Tomography. Also known as an OCT scan, it is a type of advanced scan which tracks the layers of your eye and can diagnose conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, vitreous detachments, macular holes and diabetic retinopathy.
52% of drivers don’t wear the correct glasses when driving
Drivers in the UK must renew their licence at the age of 70 and thereafter every three years. It’s a legal requirement to inform DVLA of any medical condition including eyesight related which may affect your ability to drive. If you are prescribed corrective lenses for driving and don’t use them, it is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban. A whopping 52% of drivers have admitted in the past to not wearing the correct spectacles whilst driving.
Sadly, almost 3,000 road casualties are attributed to poor driving vision. If you’re over the age of 60 in the UK, or have certain eye related medical conditions, eye examinations are covered by the NHS. So there really is no excuse for not having an eye test.
If you are due an eye examination or have any concerns about your vision, please pop in and see us. You can make an appointment for an eye test by calling 01858 433 577. Please don’t assume that you would notice an eyesight problem. The only way to protect your eyesight and your driving licence is by having regular comprehensive eye examinations.
We can all step up and play a part in helping to make our roads safer by ensuring we all have regular eye examinations. At our shop in Market Harborough we have a full range of lens coatings, tints and driving lenses. Technology is changing all the time and Seiko lenses are continuously researching and developing new lenses to help wearers to cope with different driving conditions.