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Statement: Poor Vision Poses a Risk of Road Traffic Accidents

Systematic review concludes that risk exists when individuals can’t see while driving, but more research is necessary.

Dallas, Texas – October 11, 2018 – Today as we mark World Sight Day, under the banner of EyeCare Everywhere, we are reminded that vision affects all of us, all over the world. When one person can’t see, it creates a ripple effect on all of those around him or her. Perhaps nowhere is that more obvious than on the world’s roads. The task of driving is suggested to have a 90 percent to 95 percent reliance on good vision, and impaired vision is suggested to be associated with increased driver discomfort, difficulty, and crash risk.

A soon-to-be-published Systematic Review conducted by Public Health Leader, Optometrist, and Vision Impact Institute Advisory Board Member, Professor Kovin Naidoo, et al. concludes that Uncorrected Refractive Errors do, in fact, pose a risk to road traffic accidents. There is, however, a critical need for more research to conclusively establish the cause and effect relationship between uncorrected vision and road traffic accidents. The review also concluded that poor vision is linked to a number of psychosocial outcomes related to driving, such as depression and social isolation when elderly individuals must stop driving due to their vision.

According to Naidoo, “The lack of randomized clinical trials on the impact of poor vision on drivers is a lost opportunity to quantify an easily-addressed issue and a lost advocacy opportunity.”

Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director of the Vision Impact Institute agrees. “Research is a critical component for advocacy efforts. In India, we’re encouraged by the fact that results from a study conducted by the Central Road Research Institute could soon have an impact on the future of commercial driver’s license tests in the country.” One part of the study conducted last year concluded that at least three in every ten drivers in Delhi were found to have poor distance vision, while half of the drivers surveyed had poor near visual acuity. The study went on to find that six percent of the drivers having marginal or unacceptable visual acuity of both eyes were involved in accidents.

It’s clear that research is key to creating actionable change. And that change must be seen on a local and global level. The ripple effect created by this change is what will turn EyeCare Everywhere from a rallying cry into action. Won’t you join us?