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Eye Care on The Go

Good vision is required for road safety. If you think about it, safety on the road depends on a number of visual abilities like the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Distance vision is crucial because it lets you evaluate the road ahead of you and see any dangers that might be present. Most importantly, it gives you more time to act fast and prevent any accidents that might have otherwise taken place. And on the flip-side, if you lack strong distance vision then there's a chance you may not see hazards soon enough.

Distance vision is also affected by the maintenance of your windshield and glasses (including sunglasses), so check that they are very clean and free of both scratches and dust which can inhibit your sight, mostly when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral vision, which enables you see to the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to see other cars, animals and pedestrians without having to even glance away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important when you're changing lanes and turning. Make sure you know how to use your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they're well-positioned, to help your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It allows you to measure distances correctly in crowded driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other vehicles on the road. Good depth perception needs adequate functioning in both eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's essential to consult with your optometrist to see if it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. You may have to refrain from driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Accommodation also keeps you in good stead when driving. Accommodating is the ability to shift your focus from something ahead to something near, for example, from the road to the dashboard. For those 45 or older you may have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get reading glasses or another corrective device to help you see your dashboard. Call your eye doctor to talk about the best option.

Being able to see color is also pretty important on the road. Drivers must be able to instantly recognize traffic lights, indicator signs and warning signals. If you've got a color vision defect, response time might be a little slower than that of others. If this is the case, try not to use medium or dark blue sunglasses, as these can seriously inhibit the ability to discern colors.

It's best not to wait until you renew or get your driver's license to get your eyes checked. You can't afford to risk your life or the lives of the others on the road! If you suspect your vision isn't adequate, see your optometrist, and have a proper eye exam right away.