By Jacqui Mayhew
Monovision contact lenses where only one lens is worn to correct shortsightedness leaving the uncorrected eye to deal with near vision requirements like reading can help older drivers deal with age-related vision issues like presbyopia and still be able to meet appropriate eyesight test standards. This is a highly topical issue given Government plans to ease the current driving test eyesight check which requires drivers to read a number plate from 20.5m by reducing the distance to 17.0m. This has prompted a number of organisations to raise concerns about potential road safety risks and to additionally call for a system of regular follow-up eyesight tests.
The road safety charity Brake has undertaken a survey of 1,000 motorists which resulted in some 75 per cent of respondents supporting proposals to replace the existing one-off number plate eyesight test and to introduce compulsory sight tests every 5 years. Brake says these changes would ensure the UK complied with a European directive that aims to "harmonise standards of driver vision" and improve road safety. For short-sighted older UK drivers whose vision becomes increasingly affected by presbyopia from their late 40s onwards and typically requires them to use reading glasses in addition to glasses or contact lenses for seeing distant objects clearly, the option of monovision contact lenses - especially the overnight ortho-k version worn only while sleeping - can provide an ideal solution.
"Being able to see clearly what's in front and around you is fundamental to safe, responsible driving. So it's baffling that the government proposes making the number-plate test even easier, rather than taking the opportunity to tighten up regulations," said Julie Townsend, campaigns director for Brake. Joy Barnes from Sheffield lost her niece Fiona who was killed by a driver with defective eyesight. Sheffield's Labour MP Meg Munn said: "The death of Fiona was tragic and could have been avoided. It is astonishing that in the 21st century the eyesight test involves reading number plates." Older drivers should ensure they have their eyesight tested regularly - at least every 2 years - and consider the option of monovision contact lenses as a single solution to correct both their near and distant vision.
Check if you are suitable for monovision overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .