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Driving for change

There were 196 accidents on UK roads in 2018 where “uncorrected, defective vision” was a contributory factor, including three fatal collisions

03 Oct 2019 by Selina Powell

Reaching for the car keys and heading out the door is a daily action that so many of us perform without a second thought.

It’s easy to forget as you listen to the radio on the drive to work that you are in command of more than a tonne of metal travelling at a speed that few members of the animal kingdom can naturally reach.

Perhaps it is this complacency that means many optometrists are familiar with patients who admit to only wearing their glasses when they are going on the motorway or travelling an unfamiliar route.

But this ambivalence towards the importance of vision for driving has had tragic consequences on UK roads.

The latest statistics from the Department of Transport reveal that of all reported accidents in the UK last year, 196 collisions listed “uncorrected, defective eyesight” as a contributory factor including three fatal collisions.

The AOP has promoted regular sight tests for drivers as part of its Don’t swerve a sight test campaign.

Recognising the importance of vision and driving to the profession, OT has dedicated its November edition to the topic.

Alongside conversations with international experts on the topic, we explore the role optometrists can play in practice to help make UK roads safer.

The OT team is always keen to hear from optometrists about the topics that matter to them. Feel free to get in touch by email.

Image credit: Getty/rawpixel

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Comments (4)

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    Emily McCormick, OT deputy editor2 weeks ago

    Dear 'Anonymous,' Thank you for your comment. If you have any concerns regarding this case, you can contact the AOP's regulatory team for advice by telephoning 020 7549 2009 or emailing regulation@aop.org.uk. Many thanks, Emily

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    Anonymous2 weeks ago

    I had a patient recently with moderate superior visual field loss caused by RP. I asked if she had made the DVLA aware? No, she replied "the eye clinic hasn't mentioned it so I assume it's okay". I replied, I'm sorry but I recommend you advise the DVLA ASAP as it's something they should be aware of. They may request you carry out a binocular Esterman field test to confirm whether you are fit to drive. Judging by her reaction, I doubt she will tell the DVLA. Should I have advised her GP?!

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    Tiggy Puggenheim3 weeks ago

    You can't legislate common sense or a sense of responsibility. About ten percent of the population have none of either. Quite a few are taxi drivers! Enforcement is the only solution. I remind patients who often drive uncorrected they are invalidating their vehicle insurance - that seems to help...

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    Susan Bowers3 weeks ago

    Just over a year ago at the local hospital Glaucoma clinic I saw a patient blind in one eye and 10-15 degrees of visual field left in the other eye who had not told the DVLA about his Glaucoma in case he lost his Job as a TAXI DRIVER!

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