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Eye Care on The Go

Good eyesight is required for road safety. If you think about it, driving safely requires a number of visual capabilities including distance and near vision, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is crucial because of how it lets you scan the stretch of road ahead of you and become aware of any dangers that might appear. Most importantly, it gives you more time to act fast and stop an accident from happening. On the other hand, if your distance vision is poor you might not see hazards soon enough.

Distance vision is also affected by the state of your windshield and glasses (including sunglasses), so ensure these are consistently clean and scratch-free which can reduce your ability to see clearly, mostly at night and on bright days.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you see to the sides of your car, which is important to see pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to look away from the road ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also important for changing lanes and making turns. Make sure you know how to use both your side and rearview mirrors. Make sure they're adjusted correctly, to enhance your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It lets you evaluate distances accurately in dense traffic, change lanes and pass other vehicles. Strong depth perception calls for proper vision in both of your eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to consult with your eye doctor to determine if it is okay for you to drive. It may be suggested that you stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate instantly also comes into use on the road. Accommodating is the capability to shift your focus from something ahead to something in front of you, for example, from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. If you're over the age of 45 it's common for you to have a slight challenge with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or some other vision correction solution to see objects up close. Call your eye doctor to discuss the best option.

Strong color vision also comes into play on the road. Drivers must be able to immediately identify traffic lights, indicator signs and hazard lights. For those with color blindness, your reaction time might be slower than that of others. If this is the case, avoid using medium or dark blue sunglasses, because these can seriously restrict your ability to identify colors.

At the first sign of vision problems, consider how it affects your ability to drive. You don't want to risk your own life or the lives of the others on the road! If you think your vision isn't up to par, see your optometrist, and have a proper eye exam right away.