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Specsavers uses VR simulator to warn about the dangers of driving with poor vision

The multiple is working in partnership with the International Glaucoma Association

04 Jan 2020 by Emily McCormick

Specsavers has taken a virtual reality (VR) tool, designed to replicate the vision of someone driving with undetected glaucoma, across the UK to warn about the dangers of driving with poor vision.

Hosted in partnership with the International Glaucoma Association (IGA), more than 150 people took part in the VR experience in four locations across the UK. People were asked to use the VR sight simulator to navigate as if driving along a road while avoiding potential hazards.

Results from the driving simulation showed that driving with glaucoma increases the risk of accidents by 11%. Furthermore, on average, people’s reactions to hazards were 0.3 seconds slower when driving with a slight visual impairment compared to clear vision.

Specsavers reported that 23% of people who took part in the VR experience had not had a sight test in the past two years.

Specsavers clinical spokesperson, Dr Nigel Best, highlighted: “Our driving simulation study shows that more needs to be done to educate people on how a change in vision can impact road safety. It’s paramount – and everyone’s responsibility – to know that your vision is as good as it can be every time you get behind the wheel.”

CEO at the IGA, Karen Osborn, added: “The VR simulation shows what it is like to look through the eyes of someone with quite a severe level of glaucoma. The effects can be devastating, not only to your own health, but if you were to get behind the wheel without adequate vision, then for others too. That is why eye tests are very important as they can often detect the signs before it is too late.”

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