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Eye Care on The Go

Good vision is required for safe driving. If you think about it, driving safely depends on a combination of a number of different visual abilities – for example, distance and near vision, side or peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, plus many others.

Strong distance vision is very important because of how it helps you to evaluate the road in front of you and become aware of any dangers that might be present. Being able to see ahead gives you a chance to act fast and stop an accident from happening. On the other hand, if you struggle with distance vision then there's a chance you might not be aware of the dangers soon enough.

Distance vision is also influenced by the condition of your glasses and windshield, so make sure they are kept clean and clear of both scratches and dust which can reduce your vision, specifically when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see both sides of your car, which is important to see pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also crucial when changing lanes and turning. Make sure you know how to use both your rearview and side mirrors. Ensure they're adjusted correctly, to help your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This lets you evaluate distances accurately in crowded driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other cars. Strong depth perception needs adequate vision in both of your eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to check with your eye doctor to see whether it is okay for you to drive. You may have to stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate effectively also plays an important role when driving. Accommodating is the capability to shift your focus from something in the distance to something close, such as from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. If you've recently hit middle-age it's common for you to have trouble with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or some other vision correction solution to help you see objects up close. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss the best option.

Strong color vision is also pretty important in the car. Drivers need to be able to instantly see traffic lights, indicator signs and warning signals. If you've got a color vision defect, your reaction time may be slower than normal. If this sounds familiar, try not to use medium or dark blue sunglasses, as these can seriously inhibit your ability to identify colors.

At the first sign of a vision problem, consider how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to endanger your own life or the lives of other people on the road! If you feel your eyesight isn't perfect, visit your optometrist, and get a thorough eye exam sooner rather than later.

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