Glaucoma dangers

From my early days of driving I can always remember my Dad’s instructions, the most important being – ‘keep your eyes on the road.’ This advice has been life saving but sadly eye condition can deteriorate in many ways which can impact on road safety.

Leading optometry company Specsavers has just released a report that found more than one in three – five million motorists are getting behind the wheel with vision problems, despite this elevating the risk of crashing. Professional Services Director of Specsavers and practicing optometrist, Peter Larsen, said inconsistencies in legislation from one state to another were compounding the problem, as drivers were not receiving clear messages about the need for regular eye tests. “Depending on what state you live in, drivers may not be required to have an eye test from the age of 17, when they first get a licence, until they turn 65. Despite the fact that during this time a person could go blind,” Mr Larsen said. NSW and the Northern Territory are leading the way in that drivers are required to have an eye test for each licence renewal at least every five years. Your never required to have an eye test in Queensland while Victoria is when first applying for a licence but not for a licence renewal until you reach 75 years of age. The Optometrists Association Australia estimates that 300,000 Australians have Glaucoma and half are undiagnosed. Myopia, or nearsightedness can make objects farther away appear blurred. Estimates suggest that around 30% of Australians have myopia.

Macular Degeneration can result in blind spots, blurred or distorted vision and eventual blindness. Approximately one million Australians have some evidence of Macular Degeneration. Glaucoma, Myopia and Macular Degeneration can only be diagnosed by an optometrist.

Last year I was invited to be the ambassador for World Glaucoma Week which made me more aware of the importance of regular eye sight testing. As I have always maintained – ‘To Avoid A Collision One Must Have Good Vision’ and this is why Governments must look at more consistent eye testing across Australia.

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CAPTION: Good vision allows me to ‘Drive to Survive’ which is why I get my eyes tested regularly.

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