What you need to know about driver safety and your eyes!

Research tells us that people with poor vision have a 30 percent higher crash involvement rate than those with good vision.1 This isn’t surprising, given around 90% of the decisions we make while driving is based on visual information.

At night, driving is riskier as visibility is limited and the ability to detect and respond to potential dangers is reduced. This risk is heightened for presbyopic ( age-related loss of the eyes’ ability to focus actively on nearby objects) drivers usually by the age of fifty, when vision changes can result in:

  • Increased light sensitivity to the glare and flare created by oncoming headlights slowing both detection and reaction time;
  • Impaired depth perception when judging distances with oncoming vehicles and other objects; and
  • Difficulty seeing clearly due to more pronounced refractive error resulting from the pupil dilating at night.

Many drivers are accommodating by squinting to see better (22% of Australians according to OA’s 2020 Vision Index) or moving closer or further away from the windscreen.

As our eyes do deteriorate overtime, this will in effect cause changes to our driving ability. At Beckenham Optometrist  aim to highlight the safety concerns of driving with impaired vision and educate this audience that a solution starts with a comprehensive eye exam.

The Facts

  • 1 in 5 drivers can’t see the road clearly due to uncorrected poor vision.2
  • The World Health Organisation has declared poor eyesight among the main risk factors for road crashes.3
  • Drivers with visual field defects have double the incidence of road crashes and traffic violations compared to drivers with a full visual field. Almost half of people with visual field loss are unaware of the problem.4
  • Glare, during the day or night, is the most complained about visual discomfort by drivers and slows both detection and reaction time.5
  • Night vision typically deteriorates gradually from about the age of 40.5
  • 22% of Australians stated they squint to see better while driving at night 6


If you find that your eyes are struggling to see the road ahead, now is the time to book in an eye exam. Beckenham Optometrist has been operating in Avalon for 20 years. The team is passionate about delivering the best possible eye care to the community. Beckenham Optometrist can be contacted on 9918 0616 and is located at 15 Old Barrenjoey Rd Avalon.

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1 Vision Impact Institute 2.November 2012, Vision Impact Institute – The Social and Economic impact of poor vision 3. 2006, World Health Organisation Training Manual: Road Traffic Injury Prevention 4. Incidence of visual field loss in 20,000 eyes and its relationship to driving performance, Archives of Ophthalmology, 1983. 5. 2017, Harris interactive Driving study for Essilor; 2014, Clark, J.W., NightTime Driving Evaluation of the effects of disability and discomfort glare from various headlamps under low and high light adaptation levels; 2009, ARVO, Zikos G.A. et al., Contrast Sensitivity and Reaction Times with Polarised and tinted lenses in a Driving Environment. 6. Optometry Australia, The 2020 Vision Index, Empirica Research.