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World Sight Day: Why taking care of our eyes is so important

World Sight Day, which took place on 8th October, is one of the most important days in the eye health calendar. We’ve used this opportunity to highlight why taking care of your eyes is so important.


World Sight Day (WSD) is co-ordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). It became an official IAPB event 20 years ago and has been marked in many different ways in countries around the world each year since then.

WSD highlights that more than 75% of all blindness and moderate and severe vision impairment is avoidable. One of its main aims is to encourage people to take care of their eyes. For drivers and Scheme customers this is especially important. So let’s look at why and how we need to take care of our eyes. 

Taking care of your eyes

Obviously good eyesight is essential for driving. Before you can even start your driving test you must demonstrate your eyesight is good enough to be able to drive safely. You do this by reading a clean number plate of the old style from a minimum distance of 20.5 metres (approximately 67 feet or 5 car lengths). If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses you wear them for this test and the driving test afterwards. 

If you passed your test some time ago it’s extremely important you ensure that your eyes are still capable of passing the number plate test. This is for your own safety and that of other road users, including pedestrians.

This is why it’s vital you have a regular eye test, whether you’ve ever needed glasses or contact lenses before or not. Sight deteriorates as we get older but it can happen gradually and we may not be aware of it. So get your eyes tested if you haven’t for a while. 

Named drivers

With the Motability Scheme you can choose up to three named drivers, this doesn’t have to be you. If you’re not able to drive yourself, you can choose family, friends or cares to drive the car for you.

Find out more about named drivers here.

Why eye tests are so important

As well as checking your sight is good enough for you to drive many other conditions can be revealed from a regular eye test since our eyes reveal a lot about our overall health. Some opticians have scanners that can see into the back of your eyes to check for conditions that could affect your sight in the future. 

Most opticians are still operating during lockdown with added precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and cleaning chairs and equipment immediately after use. When you book an eye test ensure your optician is adhering strictly to safety procedures for Covid-19. 

The NHS recommends you have an eye test every two years. This is especially important as you get older even if you’ve never had any problems with your eyes before. It can’t hurt to check!

Here are some common eye problems:

Cataracts

Cataracts are when the lens, a small transparent disc inside your eye, develops cloudy patches. Over time these patches usually become bigger causing blurry, misty vision and eventually blindness.

When we’re young, our lenses are usually like clear glass, allowing us to see through them. As we get older, they start to become frosted, like bathroom glass, and begin to limit our vision.

If you have cataracts it could affect your ability to drive. However, they are easily treated and this is something that will show up in an eye test though you may notice symptoms yourself. Get checked out at once if you feel your sight changing.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it’s not diagnosed and treated early.

A regular eye test will check for Glaucoma so this is another reason why it’s so important to have regular eye tests. 

Presbyopia 

With age, the lenses of the eyes become less flexible and make it difficult to focus on close objects, a condition called presbyopia. That’s why many people start to use reading glasses as they reach their mid-40s or 50s. 

A few types of eye surgeries can correct this condition. In some people who receive treatment distance vision may improve. 

Eye tests 

Eye tests are free for the over 60s, people with Diabetes and anyone over 40 with a close family member who’s had Glaucoma. There is more information here on free eye tests on the NHS.

About the Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme helps you to get mobile by exchanging your mobility allowance to lease a new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair, all of which come with our fully inclusive lease package, so you can get on the road and enjoy everyday freedom: it’s simple, affordable, reliable.

If you’d like to find out more about the Scheme, request an information pack below and we’ll send you all the information that you need to make the right choice.

Get a free information pack

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