Your Eyes and Driving – Look After Your Eyes

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What considerations do people with sight problems need to make when driving?

It’s important to have your sight tested if you think you may have a problem with your eyesight, in fact, studies suggest that up to one in five middle aged drivers are taking to the road knowing their eyesight is not as good as it should be. It is not just common sense to ensure your eyesight is good enough to enable you to drive comfortably, but you will be breaking the law if it isn’t.

What is the legal responsibility?

A driver of a car or motorbike must be able to read a number plate, with symbols, 79mm high by 50mm wide, from a distance of 20 metres AND a driver should have a visual acuity of at least 6/12 with both eyes open.  This can be done with glasses or contact lenses if you usually wear them. The law also requires drivers to have a wide field of vision, your optometrist will tell you if you may not meet the field of vision standard. Bus and Larry drivers are required to have a higher standard of vision.

If you are not able to do this, your insurance may be invalidated. Driving with uncorrected defective vision is an offence punishable with a heavy fine, penalty licence points and possible driving disqualification.

The eyesight test involving reading number plates is conducted as part of the driving test. As the law stands however, no further sight checks are needed until the driver reaches the age of 70, so the responsibility lies with you to ensure you wear corrective eyewear if necessary. Check your vision regularly by reading a number plate from a distance of 20 metres. If you notice any changes, visit your optometrist for an eye examination.

 

What if I have been diagnosed with glaucoma?

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes, this will affect the amount you can see, and the law says that you must tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority). You may have to take some extra tests, but most people are still allowed to carry on driving.  You can find out more at www.direct.gov.uk/driverhealth

 

How can people ensure their vision is roadworthy?

Always wear an up-to-date pair of glasses or contact lenses while driving, if they are needed, and go for a regular sight test to make sure your prescription is up to date. It’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle too; in France and some other European countries drivers who wear glasses must, by law, carry a spare pair in the car. If possible, have an anti-reflection coat on your glasses and keep your car windscreen clean inside and out so you can see as clearly as possible.

 

What can occur specifically when driving at night to impact our driving?

Night driving is certainly more demanding than driving during the day; this is particularly true of older people, who may test well with their optometrist, but struggle to focus on the road at night.  If you notice any particular difference in your vision when driving by night, it’s important to see your optometrist for advice. I would also point out that tinted lenses should not be used for night driving, and to make sure your windscreen is clean on the inside and outside.

 


Children’s Eyesight Risk In The Frame

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A recent survey revealed that children now spend nearly five hours a day using the likes of Facebook, watching films & TV and messaging friends.

As an optician it’s worrying that children are spending so long doing such activities as there’s a chance they could be risking their long-term eye health without knowing it.

The problem is blue light which, put simply, is part of the visible light spectrum that we use to see the world. “Good” blue light (Blue-Turquoise) is essential for children’s vision, development and well-being. “Bad” blue light (Blue-Violet) can be harmful to their developing eyes.

What many people don’t know is that blue-violet light is emitted by computers, tablets, smart phones and flat-screen TVs however, banning children from using tech is not really a practical solution and children are actually exposed to higher amounts of blue-violet light in other ways. In homes and schools, energy saving light bulbs radiate this light, while outdoors, come rain or shine, significant amounts of ultra-violet (UV) and blue light from sunlight reach ground level.

The effects of UV rays and blue-violet light are cumulative and can accelerate the development of eye disease during adult life. With an increased exposure to technology much earlier in life and children spending three times more time outside than adults we need to think about protecting their eyes now. Here are my top tips:

Diet – serve up green leafy veg like spinach, kale and broccoli

Tech – limit the amount of time spent on tablets, smartphones or watching TV and encourage them to keep their eyes as far away from the screen as possible.

Sunglasses – a pair of good quality sunglasses offers tremendous protection

Indoors – a new of prescription spectacle lens, Crizal Prevencia, will protect indoors and out. It is designed to let “good” Blue-Turquoise light in and filter out “bad” Blue-Violet light.

Optician – the best thing you can do for your eye health is go for regular eye checks with a trained professional at least every two years.

Riskometer – check your child’s exposure to blue light by using the www.thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk “Blue Light Riskometer”

Source – Andy Hepworth, Optician


New test needed to assess the quality and safety of sunglasses

Revision of standards is needed to test sunglasses quality and establish safe limits for the lenses’ UV filters, according to research published in the open access journal Biomedical Engineering OnLine.

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Sunglasses and UV protection

Exposure to the sun may deteriorate your sunglasses over time and the lenses may become lighter and so alter the category under which they are classified. It may also diminish the impact resistance of lenses (how ‘shatterproof’ the lens is). Current national and regional standards require that sunglasses provide levels of UV protection linked to the luminous transmittance, which decides the category of the lenses.

Lenses should provide adequate UV filters, because insufficient protection could lead to pathological modifications to the cornea and to the internal structure of the eye. This could cause edema (swelling of the eye which can distort vision), pterygium (growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the white of the eye that can interfere with vision), cataract (clouding of the lens of the eye) and retina damage.

Contact us if you would like to discuss the benefits of sunglasses or to book an Eye Health Exam

Article Credit http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/312587.php