A disturbing new study found that most UK drivers don’t believe leaving eyeglasses at home is a big deal if they are only going on a short drive. According to this data, UK drivers were most likely to leave spectacles or contacts at home if they were going on a drive near home, the weather was nice, and there wasn’t a great deal of traffic.
Researchers at the Leeds Sustainability Institute conducted interviews with dozens of UK patients who required some kind of vision correction. Everyone involved in this study averaged 45-years-old.
Most people involved in this study said they drove about two times without their glasses within the past six months. The only conditions that encouraged drivers to wear their spectacles were bad weather, heavy traffic, and driver’s fatigue.
Even though drivers know it’s illegal to drive with below average vision scores, they said they would most likely hit the roads without their glasses sometime in the future. Participants did say, however, they thought optometrists should tell their patients more about how crucial visual health is for driving.
Most study participants felt more strongly against drunk driving or texting while driving than they did about leaving their glasses at home. While this is a good sign, study authors hope this research will remind UK drivers that good vision is also crucial for safe driving.
After looking over this study, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) released a statement advising every driver in the UK to get a visual screening at least once every two years. AOP members also hope this study will encourage lawmakers to make regular vision screenings mandatory for UK drivers in the future.
Dr. Fiona Fylan, who teaches health psychology at Leeds Beckett University, was the key researcher on this project.