It might seem like an obvious statement, but visibility is one of the most important factors when driving. This time, we are not talking about being seen however, but rather the ability to see.
Over time, our eyesight can deteriorate. It is very common, but the biggest problem often is that the deterioration is subtle, taking time to worsen. Often, when we do have an eye test and put spectacles on for the first time following a test, the difference is astounding, because we hadn´t realised how bad our eyes had got, over time.
Given the importance of being able to see well, more than 1,000 opticians all over Spain will carry out a free vision test as part of a review campaign to try and get people seeing better when driving.
From the results of a recent survey, it was revealed that more than two million drivers recognise that they have vision problems, and despite that, “two out of three drivers consider that their vision affects their road safety”.
The study highlights that most drivers recognise that their vision has worsened in recent years, and they notice it especially at night (30%), and when it comes to clearly seeing road signs (17%)
Another of the main risk factors, especially when travelling long distances, stresses Tomás Santa Cecilia, director of road safety group RACE, is the lack of rest: “You have to stop every two hours or 200 kilometres.” However, 72% of drivers admit that they never make a stop, a figure that reaches 80% in the case of those over 56 years.
Another danger is glare. About 80% of the participants in the study claim to have suffered temporary blindness due to glare, and three out of four indicate that this situation has affected their road safety. However, half of drivers do not wear polarized sunglasses when driving.
The Dean of the College of Opticians-Optometrists, Juan Carlos Martínez, states that “the advice is to conduct a review on an annual basis.” In order to remind ourselves that “vision is a key aspect in terms of road safety, at the same level as the use of the seat belt and helmet in the case of motorcycles.”
Grupo Essilor, a firm which works in the optics sector, together with the FIA (International Automobile Federation), the RACE (Real Automobile Club of Spain) and CEPSA, have launched a campaign which will run during the summer months (July and August), during which drivers who stop at any of Cepsa’s service stations will have information available with recommendations to review and protect their vision.
Until July 31, more than 1,000 opticians from all over Spain will carry out a free vision test. Those interested can perform a visual test, created specifically for this campaign by the deans and coordinators of the 13 Faculties of Optics and Optometry that are in Spain.
The examination takes into account the current legislation in force regarding psychophysical aptitudes for driving and analyses all the visual aspects that directly affect driving, such as stereopsis (ability to see in 3D), the visual field, and sensitivity to contrast or intraocular pressure, in addition to checking if there is any latent pathology that may be affecting the user’s visual capacity.
This Vision and Life campaign is supported by the DGT and the DIA Association of traffic accidents. You can check online for participating opticians by visiting, visionyvida.org/conductores/, where you can also find more information about eyes, vision and driving.