Over time our eyesight deteriorates and previously strong vision can become poor.
If eyesight problems are left unaddressed they can often lead to poor reaction times to unexpected hazards or the behaviour of other road users.
This week, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman gives tips and advice on eyesight.
Richard said, “Deteriorating eyesight can often be a sign of other health problems so a check-up is a good idea. If you do have eye correction prescribed for driving make sure you use it, not having your glasses is a poor excuse when you have had the accident. As a little aside how often do you clean your glasses? Even a pristine windscreen will seem dirty if the lenses are covered in fingerprints.”
- Get regular checks. Eyesight can deteriorate over time without you noticing. If you are having to move closer to the television to read the titles clearly or have noticed even a slight deterioration with your eyes, we recommend a visit to the optician for a check-up; after all we should do this on a regular basis (every two years) anyway and its free for the over 60s
- Take a break, eyes get tired too. If you are travelling for long periods of time you should take a break every two hours or every 100 miles, whichever is sooner. This will refresh you and your eyes keeping you alert
- Driving at night can be the most problematic area as our eyes age. No matter how eagle-eyed we may think we are, it is a scientific fact that as we get older our eyes become less sensitive to light. Avoiding night time driving is a wise precaution if you are starting to struggle to see clearly after dusk
- Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car in all seasons; low sun on a wet road will make you wish you hadn’t packed them away after the summer
- Know the law. You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres. To find out more information on this visit the government’s driving eyesight rules page here
- Use this to test yourself, if you struggle to read it get checked out straight away
- Stay hydrated. Water is very good in keeping you hydrated and is also good for your eyes. With the added bonus of helping you maintain concentration while driving and riding.
The DVLA is currently discussing a new document it plans to send out to drivers they are told have deteriorating medical conditions and it reinforces the need to meet the eye-sight requirements. Failure to respond inside two weeks to the planned DVLA enquiry will result in the driver or rider automatically losing their licence until a medical examination is carried out.