This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
health To drive or not to drive?


by Rob Jones, Senior Optometrist at Royal Bournemouth Hospital and owner of Parley Optometrists


In a recent survey by the International Glaucoma Association, 83% of people felt that their life would be severely affected, if they lost their ability to drive. The majority of us, I am sure, feel that our eyesight is good enough to drive – after all we can all read the number plate at the required distance, can’t we?


Unfortunately there are several eye conditions, like Glaucoma for instance, that can affect your ability to drive without your knowledge.


The survey also found that 20% of all drivers over 40 were failing to have regular eye examinations at least every two years. Nobody wants to feel that they are a danger on the roads, but you would hope that the fear of losing a driving licence is not preventing people from having regular eye examinations.


Regular eye examinations could detect potentially sight threatening eye conditions, and possibly lead to treatment that could allow you to retain your sight – and therefore your licence for longer.


The DVLA quietly introduced some changes to the visual standards for drivers in the UK on May 1st 2012. Most of the changes should make it easier for Optometrists to advise you on whether you achieve the required standard to drive. As well as reading the number plate at the required distance, you may be surprised to hear that there has also always been a minimum peripheral vision requirement, and it is this aspect of your vision that can change without you realising.


The new Class 1 (cars and light vans) licences requirements can be summarised as follows: All drivers should have ‘the ability to read in good daylight (with the aid of glasses or contact lenses, if worn) a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle and containing characters 79mm high and 50mm wide from 20 metres OR characters 79mm high and 57mm wide from 20.5 metres [NB the former refers to a post-1/9/2001 plate and the latter to an older style plate]’, and a peripheral visual field extending 120 degrees from the centre of your vision, but with at least 50 degrees to each side.


You can discuss any of these changes with your Optometrist or GP, after all ‘it is better to be safe than sorry’.


www.lifebeginsmagazine.com


Life Begins 15


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52