Drivers urged over sight tests

Older motorists are being urged to get regular eye checks and to discuss their sight in connection to driving ability with their optician.

It comes after a new study found nearly 50% of motorists over 55 fail to talk about the issue when visiting their optician.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), considered as the UK's leading cause of blindness, mostly influences people after the age of 55 but its symptoms are often mistaken as "just a part of growing older".

Therefore drivers could be on the roads unknowingly suffering from the condition and posing a risk to themselves as well as other road users, which in turn could lead to a rise in the number of incidents andcar insurance claims.

Although 52% of over 55-year-olds take to the road every day, around 45% confessed to not discussing their eyesight problems in relation to driving safety with their optician. Also, 62% said they did not know much about AMD.

The study - initiated by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK - is backed by the Automobile Association (AA) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The AA's Head of Road Safety, Andrew Howard, said: "This study reveals an alarming risk to the safety of people on the roads.

"It is vital that drivers over 55 years understand the symptoms of AMD, go for regular eye checks and discuss driving with their opticians. There is also a need for the optician to be proactive during consultations, particularly as 75% of males and 36% of females over 70 now hold driving licences."

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