Association of Optometrists (AOP) Councillor and optometrist, Gordon Ilett, has said that although older drivers are some of the safest, many people will not realise that their sight has gradually deteriorated over time.
His comments follow new figures obtained by the BBC via a Freedom of Information request to the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which revealed that there are 6000 people aged over 90 who hold a driving licence in Wales.
“It’s vital to have regular check-ups to ensure you stay safe on the roads and continue to meet the required standard for driving – it can also help someone maintain independence for longer. We advise that everyone should have a sight test every two years, or more often if an optometrist recommends it,” Mr Illet explained.
The AOP Councillor added: “The current number-plate test is not an adequate check of vision. While we don’t advocate compulsory reporting to the DVLA by healthcare professionals, we believe a new system that requires drivers to prove their vision meets the standards, at least every 10 years and more frequently as they get older, would improve safety on UK roads.”
The AOP believes that an optometrist’s main role is to maximise visual function and thus support people to drive safely.