Having good driving vision is one of your greatest assets when it comes to safe driving. With Workplace Eye Wellness Month happening this March, it’s a great opportunity to review ways to preserve your eyesight.
Not all eyes are created equal, however, and eye health can vary among drivers. If you struggle with your vision, or are concerned that your vision may have deteriorated and is hindering your ability to drive and do other tasks, there are ways you can preserve and improve your natural eyesight.
The 6 Elements of Vision
To properly care for your vision, it’s important to understand the different aspects of vision to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your eyesight. The American Association of RetiredPersons (AARP) has compiled a list of characteristics that comprise vision:
- Visual acuity is a measure of how clearly you can see. Weak visual acuity can make objects appear blurry, putting drivers at greater risk of a crash, especially at dusk or dawn.
- Color blindness affects your ability to differentiate between colors. It can impact a driver’s ability to read traffic signals, follow roadways, and see when vehicles put on their brake lights.
- Contrast sensitivity measures the ability to see the outline of objects compared to their surroundings. If you have contrast sensitivity issues you may encounter difficulties in seeing a pedestrian in fog or at night, putting you at greater risk of a crash.
- Useful field of view determines how much information your eyes can process at a brief glance. A good useful field of view is important in driving, which requires you to process multiple sources of information at once while moving at high speeds.
- Depth perception helps you determine the distance of objects in relation to yourself. Poor depth perception can make it difficult to judge the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles.
- Peripheral vision mesures how well you can see from the corners of your eyes. Peripheral vision helps drivers maintain situational awareneess, especially when changing lanes or making turns.
Maintaining Your Eyesight
While aging and medical conditions may contribute to difficulties with vision, there are actions that every driver can take to improve and preserve their eyesight and make sure their visual health is as strong as possible. AAA offers five tips to drivers for keeping their vision healthy and optimized for driving:
1. Schedule an annual eye exam. An optometrist can help detect early signs of glaucoma and cataracts, as well as identify any other issues that may impair your vision.
2. Regularly update your prescription. Wearing glasses or contacts that do not match your prescription can strain and hurt your eyes. Keeping your prescription updated ensures thatyour vision is as good as possible when you’re behind the wheel.
3. If you wear glasses, choose a pair with thin frames and high-mounted side pieces. This makes sure that you have clear line of sight and the best possible peripheral vision.
4. Keep glasses and contacts well-maintained. Regularly cleaning your glasses and contacts prevents any potential visual obstruction. Checking that they’re in good repair and condition also makes sure you won’t be in a situation when you’re driving without your glasses or contact lenses.
5. Wear polarized or prescription sunglasses. Good or corrected vision can be obstructed by glare and bright sunlight. Polarized sunglasses help to keep glare to a minimum, while prescription sunglasses mean you won’t have to sacrifice clear vision.
Vision is also not purely tied to how well your eyes allow you to see other vehicles and the environment. Even if you have perfect vision, there are steps you should take to ensure that your vehicle is optimized for visibility, including cleaning both sides of your windshield and windows, cleaning your lights, properly adjusting your mirrors, and making sure your headlights are properly adjusted.
Doing everything you can to take care of your vision and maximize your visibility will help you avoid a crash and keep the roads safe for other drivers.