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Drivers must seek advice about eyesight

By: Elizabeth Smythe
15 June 2011

Should driver training include regular sight tests? Optometry experts believe that motorists should speak out about sight issues before getting behind the wheel, says

Everyone is aware that they should not drive if they think their eyesight is deteriorating, however, this is an issue which some people fiercely deny, too proud to admit their vision is failing.

While the DVLA ensures that all new motorists meet eyesight requirements, those who have been driving for years may not realise that there is a legal standard by which they should comply.

Now, members of the College of Optometrists are urging drivers to speak to an optician to determine the problem, put their mind at rest and find a solution. 

They assert that people need not be frightened that there is a serious issue, as most sight conditions can be fixed simply with an updated pair of glasses. 

Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric advisor for the College, told that what drivers "shouldn't do is drive knowing their vision is poor and not do anything about it."

The worry is, Dr Blakeney continues, that "individuals might think that their vision is still good enough for driving" and to avoid accidents, regular sight tests are essential.

The easy way to check whether eyesight is of a safe driving standard is to read a numberplate from 20 metres away. If the numbers and letters can be recalled easily, vision is considered safe.

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