Don't let bad vision push you out of the driving seat

Posted on: 06 September 2018 by 50connect editorial

Drivers ignoring their eye health could face far-reaching consequences under a government pilot scheme but help is at hand ...

older driver eye health

As you have probably heard, the police force and the DVLA are putting focus onto the importance of driver vision.

Throughout September, Road Policing Officers in three pilot areas will be giving every motorist they stop an immediate eye test, in an attempt to create a safer environment for drivers and passengers.

For those with impaired vision, this announcement may be cause for concern; especially as the dark winter months approach.

In this article we will explain what the eye test entails and supply you with some valuable information that may help you hold on to your licence.

The test

The three forces driving the month long trial are Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands. Within this time-frame every motorist who is stopped by roadside officers will be asked to read a license plate from 20m away.

Drivers who fail to correctly read the number plate will have their license revoked. The driver will then be required to provide evidence to the DVLA to prove that their vision adheres to their standards.

The good news is that the data from each test will be collected in order to improve understanding into the impact poor driver eyesight has on civilians; giving our fellow passengers and drivers a little more peace of mind on the road.

According to some sources, officers will be ‘taking every opportunity’ to carry out these eye tests, urging drivers to consider the condition of their eyesight and how it may affect the safety of others.

Winter is coming...

Although most of us are desperately trying to hold on to the dregs of the summer, we’d like to bring your attention to some of the common concerns you may face with winter driving. We’ll be focusing on Macular Degeneration, which affects 33% of people aged 40 and over.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration (MD) is described as a common condition that affects the middle part of your vision. MD develops with age, usually beginning when individuals are in their 50s and 60s.

As one of the leading causes of sight loss in the UK, symptoms to look out for include difficulty reading even with glasses, a smudge in the centre of your vision, sensitivity to bright light, faded colours and distorted straight lines.

Macular Degeneration and night time driving

Macular degeneration can affect your ability to drive safely, as it makes it difficult to see road signs, traffic and pedestrians.

Night time driving can be particularly hazardous with older drivers. This is due to the natural shrinking of the pupils as we age. Additionally, older eyes do not dilate as much in the dark, limiting the amount of light entering the eye.

Imagine wearing dark sunglasses at night, this is similar to what some older drivers may experience when driving at night. Couple this with bad weather conditions and you have an accident waiting to happen.

With this said, all drivers over 40 are urged to be mindful of their eye health and ensure objects on the road, especially at night, can clearly be recognised.

Managing low winter sun and glare

As you know, in the winter the sun stops rising quite so high; often causing that bothersome glare whilst driving. It has been reported that approximately a staggering 3000 accidents occur in the UK each year due to the sun’s glare.

Although this glare cannot be illuminated, here are a few tips to help you cope with its presence.

  • Keeping your windscreen clean and grease free from both sides will stop the suns reflection scattering through.

  • Lowering your speed and allowing yourself more time to react to potential hazards is essential when tackling the winter sun.

  • As well as staying aware of your own vehicle, stay mindful of the car behind you, cyclists and pedestrians; who may also be affected by the glare.

  • Using your visor or wearing prescription sunglasses will help to cut out glare.

Lens replacement surgery: a one-stop solution

Many individuals’ eyes have imperfections that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. As eyes age these imperfections often worsen and affect everyday activities such as driving.

Lens Replacement Surgery can correct conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism. Using advanced lenses, multiple problems can be eliminated.

If you are concerned about your vision please get in touch via the link below to discuss your options or book a consultation.

ultralase logo Find out more

If you have any questions around the topic mentioned or would like to book a free consultation to check your suitability for lens replacement surgery.

Visit Ultralase


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