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1 in 5 Drivers Can’t See the Road Clearly

By Essilor Canada

Our eyes do not have the same needs on the road as they do in front of a computer. Does this surprise you? Think about it. Vision is the sense that we depend upon the most when we are travelling. While driving, everything moves at a fast pace and the slightest inattention can bring major consequences. Glare, caused by natural sunlight or headlights, can be temporarily blinding. That is why it is so important to adapt our driving to both road conditions and to our visual needs.

A survey1 conducted for World Vision Day reveals that Canadians who wear glasses tend to take risks while driving in familiar places as well as when they drive short distances. One in four people surveyed admit to driving without glasses for trips of less than 30 minutes. This is extremely relevant given that we know that most people are victims of accidents within 10 to 15 km of their home. Based upon the information, we can make a causal connection. Driving is part of everyday life, it is normal to develop reflexes and let certain aspects simply become habit. This cannot however be to the detriment of our safety, nor the safety of others.

Night driving

As soon as it gets dark, we experience some visual discomfort. Our vision is not adapted to this environment. The sensitivity of the eyes is different during the light of day than it is after dark. At night, we are exposed to multiple and intense light sources that create different types of reflections. These bright rays of light and glare disturb eye cells, creating discomfort and reducing visual acuity.

The rapid contrast between darkness and bursts of reflective light carry numerous consequences for our vision. The eye has difficulty adjusting to glare, experiences decreased peripheral vision, as well as decreased contrast sensitivity and response time. Fortunately, there are lenses that can minimize the intensity of the glare, helping us to maintain our visual acuity during both the day and the night. Talk to your eye care professional about lens treatment technologies that give you better day and night visual clarity as well as provide a larger, more developed field of view and a larger area of intermediate vision.

By improving our visual comfort, we make our night driving safer.

Ageing and driving

Ageing has its benefits for a driver. We acquire, among other things, a vast experience that benefits us every time that we step into a car. On the other hand, there are also some changes that occur with age that can affect our driving negatively. Vision, hearing, and slower reflexes and reaction time all impact our behaviour. As the years advance, our pupils shrink which affects our ability to drive safely. We also need more light to see clearly.

When driving, the most important factor is understanding your limits, regardless of your age. Take concrete steps to change driving habits that could impair your safety and that of others. Making an appointment with your eye care professional for an eye exam is also an excellent way to ensure good vision and safe driving.

1 Haas B, Doumouras AG, Gomez D, et al. Close to home: An analysis of the relationship between location of residence and location of injury. The journal of trauma and acute care surgery.