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Sight on Safety

Healthy eyes are the key to good vision and safety on the roads.
CONTRIBUTED BY YAP TIONG PENG, THE SINGAPORE OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION

It goes without saying that to be a good and safe driver, we need to be able to see where we’re going, and what’s heading towards us. Eye health is thus key in keeping our roads safe.

Behind the wheel, we’re constantly on the lookout for cars coming at us, while darting our eyes across the dashboard, mirrors and even our passengers. Keeping focused on all that goes on around us is important, so as to ensure we get to where we’re headed in one piece. To do that, it is imperative that our eyes are in the pink of health.

It’s advisable to see your optometrist at least once a year (more often if you wear contact lenses). Besides checking that your prescription glasses and contact lenses are up to date, the optometrist can check for common eye conditions such as eye inflammation, cataract and glaucoma. Excessive oil in your tears and/or dryness can also cause your vision to become blurred occasionally. These issues can easily be remedied with regular checks.

IT IS ESSENTIAL TO WEAR SUNGLASSES WHEN OUTDOORS TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM HARMFUL ULTRAVIOLET RAYS.

Where required, specialised testing is available to evaluate your visual field or contrast sensitivity, and if necessary, a referral to another specialist can be made.

Drivers who are diabetic must take extra care. They should always follow their doctor’s recommendation to keep their blood sugar level under control. Vision can fluctuate if the blood sugar level is neglected. Even if you’ve seen your GP for medication, special care by the optometrist helps reduce the risks of diabetic retinopathy, which can progress to severe vision loss without warning.

Presbyopia, or longsightedness, may become an issue to drivers above the age of 40. Checking with your optometrist allows him to offer the most optimal lens type to suit your needs.

It is also essential to wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. If you wear prescription lenses, check that they are clean and scratch-free. Often, scratched and dirty lenses worsen the glare, especially during adverse driving conditions such as in the rain or at night.

While the common anti-reflective, multicoated lenses reduce glare, the latest ones developed from wavefront technology are gaining popularity and can cut down distracting optical aberrations, especially at night.

Vision is one of the key aspects to driving safely. So getting your eyes checked regularly by a qualified optometrist, and taking the appropriate measures, are important to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roads.

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