Tips on how to keep eyes healthy for that drive back to your hometown or holiday destination this festive season.
Get the right prescriptionPrior to any long distance travel, consult an optometrist to ensure your eyes are fit for driving. If you are wearing spectacles, make sure you have the right prescription. Under-corrected prescription can cause blurry vision while over-corrected prescription can cause extra tension to eye muscles, leading to eye fatigue.
Wear quality shadesUltraviolet rays can cause eye fatigue and, more seriously, cataract. In sunny weather, always wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection coating to ensure that your eyes stay comfortable. Avoid using green, red or blue coloured sunglasses as these can distort your colour perception.
Take breaksEyes tire easily and long distance driving is physically and mentally exhausting. When you have reduced blood circulation and eye movement, you may feel sleepy.
Take 10-minute breaks for each hour of driving to prevent fatigue. Or take turns driving with friends and family if you are travelling in a group.
Bring eye dropsYour eyes need to constantly remain moist and hydrated in order to avert fatigue and blurry vision. Long distance driving often exposes you to long hours of re-circulated air from the air conditioner. This can lead to dry and fatigued eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses.
Clarity of visionThis is crucial while driving as you need to react to potential hazards promptly. The faster you drive, the less time you have to see and react to things. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at six metres what should normally be seen at that distance. To be fit for driving, your best-corrected visual acuity must be at least 20/30.
Good night visionThis is the ability to see in low and variable light conditions and recover quickly from the glare of oncoming headlights while driving.
If your night vision is deteriorating, it will be difficult to drive safely at night. In some cases, this may be due to the onset of cataract.
Depth perceptionWhile driving, you need to be able to judge distances well in order to overtake or change lanes, especially during heavy traffic. If you’ve recently lost the use of one of your eyes, you may need to take extra care and stop driving for a while until your vision has adjusted.
Field visionGood field vision is the ability to see the sides without moving your eyes. You need to be able to see cross traffic, pedestrians or animals at the side of the road without having to look away from the road ahead.
Colour visionIf you have difficulty with your colour vision, you may find that you react slower to warning indicators such as traffic lights, the hazard warning light, brake light or indicators from other vehicles.
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