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Drivers have been warned that they could face fines of up to £1,000 and three penalty points for driving without prescription glasses. On top of that, motorists may even be at risk of invalidating their car insurance policy if they require prescription glasses and are not wearing them at the time of an incident which is later deemed their fault.
Many short-sighted people will need to wear glasses when driving in order to have a clear view of the road.
According to the DVLA, drivers “must wear glasses or contact lenses every time they drive if they need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’”.
Tom Preston, Founder of Hippo Leasing, said: “Our eyesight is precious and we should all be taking the steps necessary to protect it at all costs.
“It is dangerous to drive with impaired vision and you could be putting yourself and other people’s lives at risk when you can’t view the road clearly, read road signs properly or see potential hazards.
“We would recommend responsible drivers get regular thorough eye tests, wear their prescription glasses or sunglasses when behind the wheel and take frequent breaks to rest your eyes when driving for long periods of time.
“If you struggle with eyestrain when driving, speak to your optician about tinted lenses which can help with this and aim to make your journeys more comfortable.”
With that in mind, experts have provided motorists with several tips they could follow to protect their eyes while driving.
Wearing prescription glasses and sunglasses
Roshni Kanabar, optometrist and clinical advisor for the Association of Optometrists (AOP) said: “Visual problems from low-lying sun may be improved by using prescription sunglasses, as well as certain lens types and coatings specifically designed for driving.
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“If you’re finding it hard to see when driving, your first port of call should be your optometrist so they can investigate what might be causing your issues and recommend solutions to make you comfortable and safe.”
Drivers are also encouraged to keep a pair of prescription glasses in their car so that they will never forget them, and opt for no-glare polarised sunglasses that are ideal for driving as they’ll prevent glare from objects or the road.
Reducing the risk of dry eyes by taking eyedrops
Mr Kanabar highlighted the possibility of getting dry eyes when driving. He said: “We generally tend to blink a lot less whilst concentrating which can lead to the natural coating of the tears over your eyes, to start to evaporate, making them dry and uncomfortable.
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“It’s important that drivers consider what makes them most comfortable, especially when driving long distances. For example, try and remember to blink, and it’s important to take regular breaks on your journey.”
Using the in-built car visor to block out harmful UV rays
If sunglasses aren’t doing the trick with blocking out the sun, then drivers should pull down the in-built car visor to further protect their eyes from the bright light.
Non-reflective sun visors will absorb the damaging UV rays, whilst reflective models will deflect them.
Motorists are encouraged to adjust the visor so that it acts as a barrier between the eyes and the sun but does not interfere with the view of the road.
If the sun visor or the passenger side sun visor is damaged, drivers should have it repaired or get a replacement to keep the in-built sun protection system reliable when needed.
Mr Kanabar concluded: “Aside from being able to see a good level of detail, which is important for things like reading road signs, it means you can also spot objects moving in your peripheral vision, such as cyclists coming out of side roads, and to be able to detect objects which don’t stand out clearly from the background – enabling you to anticipate what’s about to happen and adapt your driving to the situation.
“Whether you wear glasses or not – regular sight tests are vital for drivers. This is because your optometrist will test your vision as well as examining the health of your eyes.
“You should have a sight test every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends it.”
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