Representing the nation's number one advocate for the safety of road users, motorists, and pedestrians, AAA Director of Public and Government Affairs Cheryl Parker knows the importance of vision health for drivers.
“We think that vision health is absolutely critical to your overall safety as a driver,” says Parker. “So, having regular vision checks are very important so that you can recognize any changes in your vision when they occur and make the necessary adjustments so you can drive for as safely and as long as possible.”
According to Parker, poor vision can contribute to many challenges on the road, including not being able to react quickly.
“There can be heavy traffic on the roads if you’re on the highway if it’s during busy times of day, like in the morning when you have kids going to school and people going to work,” says Parker. “It’s even more critical that you’re focused, and clear vision is a huge part of it.”
Mason, Ohio Law Enforcement Officer Eric Fitzgerald agrees.
“Having good, clear vision, both centrally and peripherally, is going to help you see dangers, see obstructions, see signage, see traffic signals, and know what’s ahead of you,” says Fitzgerald. “You can accurately perceive it and react to it, making it a much safer situation.”
Fitzgerald notes that drivers over 40 will have different needs than drivers who are 20 years old, and individuals need to account for their age when having their vision checked.
LensCrafters Optometrist Dr. Sean Claffie shares that there are two main ways that vision can be corrected.
“We can do multiple pairs of glasses, or we can combine the one lens, the progressive lens,” says Claffie. “The progressive lens will allow us to see while we’re driving.”
The progressive lens can help drivers see everything from deer to gauges or a GPS unit.
For drivers who complain of challenges seeing at night, specifically with glare, Claffie recommends that you see your eye doctor immediately.
“We have drivers in here complaining about glare when they drive at night, or fatigue, headaches, eye strain, or even double vision,” says Claffie. “It’s time to see the eye doctor for drivers who want to maximize safety.”
Claffie emphasizes the importance of having your glasses adjusted and cleaned regularly, especially from a skilled optician.
“You really want to meet with a skilled optician who you can learn your needs from and who can fit you in a pair of glasses,” says Claffie. “[They’ve] got to fit your face, but also have you looking through the correct part of the lens so you can have your best vision, both far away and up close.”
Most important, according to Claffie, is making sure your prescription is updated to make sure you’re wearing the safest possible lenses.
“Although we’re sitting in comfort and we have driver assistance, there are still dangerous things we’re driving around,” says Claffie. “Having an annual eye exam and the best possible prescription is not only going to help our comfort, fatigue, and lifestyle, but also protects our past.”