With National Glaucoma Awareness Week 2015 upon us, further calls are being made by industry leading optical specialists in regards to the need for regular sight tests in the UK for drivers, following concerning statistics that almost 20% of the over 45's in the country have failed to visit their local opticians for a sight test in the last five years. Not only does such a lack of testing cause an issue for the safety of drivers and other road users due to impaired vision, it also represents a risk of glaucoma, and indeed any other eye conditions and diseases, progressing without detection over a long period of time, with some issues presenting a possibility of becoming a serious threat to that persons vision.
National Glaucoma Awareness Week 2015 has focused its efforts this year on encouraging people in the UK to have regular eye health checks to ensure driving safety on our roads and highways. Due to a lack of symptoms in its early stage, glaucoma is one of the most important eye conditions that can be recognised and detected by an optometrist or optician, and treated from an early onset. With quick and immediate treatment programmes, glaucoma need not be a guaranteed route to vision loss, with many people able to keep a useful level of vision and continue to drive safely for many years. Through regular eye check ups, people can rest assured that their vision is in tip top condition and address issues before they become a serious problem. With this in mind, National Glaucoma Awareness Week has a range of literature including leaflets and posters to highlight the importance of drivers visiting their optician regularly.
Glaucoma and drivers in numbers:
- 18% of people aged 45 or over have not visited an optician in the past 5 years
- 86% of those in the UK value sight as their most important sense
- The estimated cost to the UK economy due to accidents because of drivers with poor vision is £32.9m
- Around 2000 accidents happen every year on UK roads, due to drivers driving with impaired sight
UK drivers are being encouraged to view their eye sight as important as an MOT when it comes to road safety, with the recommendation that if your car needs to be checked yearly for progressive deterioration or serious faults that could cause an accident, so should your vision. As such, yearly eye checks will not only improve casualty rates, but also detect conditions that would impact on other areas of your everyday life.