Monthly eyecare debate from Melissa Hay of Visique Milford Optometrists
I can’t imagine not driving. Although the traffic out there is horrendous at times it makes life that little bit easier to get where you want to go. Here are a few thoughts on driving vision and how we can help you with it...
The ability to see clearly is most important for safe driving. Even the simplest reactions take 0.4 seconds. If your distance vision is reduced, people, cyclists and other drivers are often not seen until it is too late to react safely. Poor distance vision and excessive speed increase the risk of making unreliable judgments, with potentially dangerous results. Making sure your vision is checked at least every two years ensures that your sight is good enough for driving. Not being able to read signs and number plates is a sure sign you need book an appointment with us.
Field of Vision:
The ability to see out “the corner of your eye” is particularly important for the early recognition of cross-traffic, pedestrians and animals at the roadside without looking away from the road ahead. To ensure safe driving, the LTSA requires a minimum of 140º field of view for driving as a private motorist. Make the best use of your side and rear view mirrors, and keep them adjusted correctly. We have specialised equipment to measure the extent and depth of your peripheral vision.
Passing other vehicles, parking your car and changing lanes require good judgement of distance, especially in busy traffic. The reason we all have two eyes is to give us the ability to perceive depth – but we can also use other queues like shadowing and the object size. During our thorough eye exams we will make sure both your eyes are working together so you can avoid those expensive car park accidents.
If you are a regular commuter travelling at dawn and dusk you will be familiar with getting blinded by sun strike. As well as protecting your eyes from the sun, sunglasses with your prescription in them will lessen the effect of sun strike allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. Prescription sunglasses are fantastic in all aspects of life; once you have them it’s very hard to go back.
Driving at night is difficult at the best of times so safer night driving requires the ability to see in low and variable light conditions. It also requires an ability to recover quickly from the glare of oncoming headlights. Glare recovery is best in drivers under the age of 30, and night vision deteriorates after the age of 40. Older drivers can compensate to some extent for this reduction in the quality of night vision by driving more slowly.
Senior citizens should pay special attention to their driving ability. We recommend senior drivers get their eyes examined by an optometrist every time their licence is due for renewal. As long as physical health and vision permit, an older person should be able to continue driving to maintain the mobility which has come to be accepted as necessary for happiness and independence.
Vision is your responsibility:
Under New Zealand law it is a driver’s responsibility to ensure that vision meets the LTSA’s eyesight standards. The law requires a person’s vision to be tested every time a licence is renewed. There are different levels of visual requirements for different vehicles so consult with the LTSA to understand yours. Studies show that for teenagers and those over the age of 50, there is a significant increase in the number of people who fail to meet the standards without corrective lenses.
If you are struggling to read road signs or feel you would benefit from prescription sunglasses come and talk either Logan or myself.
Visique Milford Optometrists, 155 Kitchener Road, Milford 09 489 4979 firstname.lastname@example.org
Channel Magazine: Issuu 52 March 2015