The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Keep your eyes on the road …… with good vision


Road accidents are a serious concern. According to newspaper reports the “ number of road accidents in Sri Lanka in 2011 reached 37,000 with 2,500 deaths and 600 maimed.”

These disturbing figures mean that anyone driving, walking or simply standing on the roads (which includes everyone at some point) has reason to think about and take action against such accidents.

There are several factors that can help prevent accidents, of which one that is not often considered is a person’s eyesight.
It goes without saying that eyesight is essential to driving. However, what often goes unsaid is how important it is. The sensory skills we use when driving rely mostly (95%) on input provided by our vision. Therefore, good visual acuity (the requirement is 6/9, 6/12), good peripheral vision (140° horizontal field and 20° unobstructed vertically), good night vision are some of the standards required to obtain a driver’s licence.
There are simple steps we can take to prevent accidents by preventing visual disturbance:

1) Get your eyes checked regularly and make sure that the spectacles you are wearing are adequate.
2) Sunglasses protect you from the glare and therefore enable you to keep your eyes comfortably on the road at all times.
3) Night-driving glasses provide sharper vision at night.
4) If you are wearing multifocal (progressive lenses) for the first time, make sure you give yourself adequate time to get used to them before wearing them for driving.
5) Any change of prescription requires that you get used to it before driving with it.
6) If you have been wearing contact lenses the whole day and your eyes are tired, it is advisable to switch to spectacles for driving at night.
7) Keep moisturizing eye drops in your car if you suffer from dry eyes.
8) It is always advisable to have a spare pair of spectacles in your car at all times.
9)Your eye sight is linked to your visual health and can be affected by certain conditions such as high blood pressure, migraines, etc.
10) Special lenses (with anti-reflective coating) can help during reflection from the lights of oncoming vehicles.
Do not hesitate to consult your eye care practitioner for advice. Good vision is a step towards safety on the road.

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