Eye Examinations are an essential part of road safety
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The Number plate test is still the bench mark many drivers use to self assess their own vision. Suprisingly, the Number plate test has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction the 1937. However in the 1930’s there were around 1.5 million cars on the road, compared to almost 33 million vehicles registered today, despite the increased speed and numbers of vehicles on the roads, as well as rising numbers of older drivers at a higher risk of their vision deteriorating, and a greater risk of sight loss. A government report from May of this year highlighted that it has been shown that less than 10% of drivers are able to recall accurately the required Number Plate Test distance to enable them to self assess their vision, and that up to 40% of drivers would underestimate the required distance making the task easier. While a recent survey by insurance group Esure found that one in twelve drivers cannot read a number plate from 20 metres! The number plate tests accuracy and reliability has often been questioned, and with the changes in our cars, the roads we drive on, and the significant amount of extra traffic we encounter everyday, the practice of roughly self-assessing your vision is just not adequate. The only sure way of knowing your visual standard meets current driving legislation is by having a full eye examination by an Optometrist. There is a growing need for drivers to be made aware of their vision and for drivers of all ages to make an eye examination a part of their regular health care. Changes to your vision can be slow and therefore go unnoticed by drivers, many delay acting on such a change, and eye conditions such as glaucoma can go unnoticed in the early stages. Alarmingly, According to RNIB 50% of cases of sight loss could have been avoided if they had detected earlier.
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