A driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle relies heavily on having clear, accurate vision. Good vision allows drivers to observe traffic signs and signals, spot pedestrians and cyclists, see other motorists, view the vehicle’s dashboard, and identify road hazards in order to react early enough to potentially prevent an accident. That’s why, as a professional driver, you should do all you can to take care of your vision, your first line of defense.
Here are some helpful eye care tips:
Get your eyes checked regularly – While commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders must have their eyes checked at least every two years as part of the Department of Transportation physical, you don’t need to get your vision checked only when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires you to do so. Periodic comprehensive eye examinations are an important part of preventive health care. They also give you the opportunity to address any problems that may prevent you from renewing your CDL next time around. A thorough exam can help detect non-eye related health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and cancers, as well eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Visual acuity tests measure your focus and ability to see clearly at various distances. Checking depth perception reveals your ability to judge space and distance between objects and your vehicle. A peripheral vision test gauges your ability to see and be aware of a wider field of vision around you while driving straight ahead.
Include healthy foods in your diet – Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent vision loss from eye disease. A well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults. (Note: Consult your physician for the type of diet that’s best for you and before taking any vitamins or supplements).
Give your eyes a rest too – When driving, your eyes are constantly in motion, focusing and refocusing as objects approach, and contending with distractions, such as oncoming headlights or the glare of the setting sun. All of this activity can lead to eye fatigue and the problem may be intensified by sleep deprivation. Give your eyes the proper rest they need by getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, and take breaks when driving long distances to reduce eye strain and fatigue.
Slip on the shades – Glare is hard on your eyes and makes it difficult to see your surroundings. Sunglasses will cut down on glare and reflections, help protect you from harmful UV rays, and relieve stress on your eyes. Wear sunglasses that are polarized to reduce glare and reflection and help guard against cataracts, retinal burning, and eyestrain. Snow can reflect a great deal of light, so be aware that sunglasses aren’t just for sunny days.
Protect your aging eyes – Your eyes, like the rest of your body, change as you get older. Healthy lifestyle choices—eating right, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and avoiding smoking—can help you manage, slow, or prevent factors contributing to age-related visual impairment.
Keep prescription eyeglasses and contacts well-maintained – If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, clean them regularly to help avoid any potential visual obstruction. Also, store glasses and contacts properly when you’re not wearing them to prevent damage. Importantly, the American Optometric Association recommends an annual eye exam for any patient who wears eyeglasses or contacts.
Your eyes are your greatest source of information on the road. Take care of your eyes and treat them with respect to help drive clearly and more safely for years to come.
Compliments to Lancer Insurance for providing this information.