Optometrists call for regular compulsory eye tests for drivers

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Association of Optometrists launches campaign encouraging motorists to get their sight checked

The Association of Optometrists has called for a change in the law that requires all motorists to prove their eyesight meets legal standards every 10 years.

The call comes as the association reveals that a third of optometrists, who diagnose visual impairments and prescribe contact lenses and glasses, have seen patients continue to drive despite being told they are below the legal standard.

It adds that UK laws on vision requirements are some of the laxest in Europe, as motorists here are simply required to read a number plate once as part of the initial driving test.

Julie Anne-Little, optometrist and board member at the Association of Optometrists (AOP), said: “The UK system, which relies on self-reporting and an initial number plate test, falls behind many other countries.

“Because sight changes can be gradual, often people won’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time.”

A further study of 2,007 adults found that 30 per cent of road users have continued driving despite having doubts about whether their eyesight is adequate, while 26 per cent admitted to putting off getting their eyes tested despite suspecting it was deteriorating.

The Department for Transport said that any changes in eyesight should be reported to the DVLA.

In 2016, more than 10,000 UK motorists had their licences revoked by the DVLA because of poor eyesight.

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