Driving and eye care by Dr Gurjeet Jutley

Without doubt vision has a major impact on the ability to drive safely on the roads. This is highlighted by guidance and restriction on driving by the DVLA. For example there are a range of conditions that should be brought to the attention of the DVLA in order to ascertain legality to drive. Simple advice should be followed to ensure safety is preserved.

Follow your health care advice

  • Use distance spectacles or contact lenses always
    • If possible, keep spare pair of spectacles in the car
  • Consider anti-reflective coating to reduce symptoms of glare from headlights
  • Avoid wearing tinted lenses in poor light conditions as they can make dark environments seem even darker.
  • When choosing intra-ocular lenses, consider the visual requirements prior to deciding. For example, patients who drive in the evenings with lots of lighting on motorways may be debilitated with glare. Lenses that may potentiate glare should be avoided.

Visual aids for driving

  • To optimise the field of vision, consider slimmer frames
  • It’s important to perform an Easterman’s visual field in order to ascertain if driving is permissible
  • It’s important to acknowledge that the rules of the road are different depending on the type of license required
  • Visual requirements must be met, including:
    • Reading 6/12 on the Snellen chart
    • Reading a post-2001 number plate from at least 20 metres away.

Essentially, driving should be ceased immediately if told to do so.

Keep the DVLA informed

It’s a legal obligation that the DVLA is notified if the visual requirements of vision are not met. Vision-related conditions that must be disclosed include new double vision, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Tests could be needed

The DVLA will decide if further tests are required to determine the requirement to drive. Commonly, binocular visual-field tests are requested. Continual driving when told conversely is not endangering others, also poses risks of:

Refused car insurance

Fine

Legal action

Dr Gurjeet Jutley is a consultant ophthalmologist at the John Radcliife Hospital in Oxford and is also a trustee at OAB. Find out more about him at https://gurjeetjutley.com.

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