The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has welcomed a road safety statement from the Department of Transport (DoT) in which the need for change in relation to the population and driving is recognised.
Debbie McGill, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at ABDO says, “We welcome the move to establish a research programme and literature review to assess how far poor vision is a road safety problem. We hope consideration will be given to the July 2018 Driving Blind Campaign, which ABDO supported, calling on the Government to introduce legislation that requires all drivers to have a sight test before their driving test and at every subsequent license renewal. The campaign references evidence that should be considered going forward.”
In the statement, recognition is given to the ageing society grand challenge. Debbie McGill says, “This is why ABDO supports the implementation of a new vision test which would provide a consistent level of care for all patients. ABDO is also calling for optical practices in the community to be used to conduct the new vision tests for drivers. Eye health checks are important for all of the population, especially drivers. Not only can vision be assessed to determine if someone is fit to drive but underlying eye disease/health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes etc. can be detected through a vision test. The earlier sight threatening eye disease is detected, the more opportunities there are of managing and preventing sight loss, reducing the risk to all road users.”
The road safety statement reiterates the legal requirement for all drivers to inform the Driver and Vehicle License Agency (DVLA) of any health problems that effects their ability to drive. Debbie McGill says, “ABDO welcomes this, but would also request that clarification be given to clinicians on how to apply this without breaking patient confidentiality. ABDO is calling for consultation with the Statutory Bodies, in particular the General Optical Council, which has recently consulted on this topic, to form a collaborative approach, taking into account advice the GOC provide on this subject which includes “that practitioners should promptly raise concerns about their patients if, in their professional judgement, patient or public safety might be at risk.” ABDO would also welcome the opportunity to be part of the research/literature and the new vision test review groups.
Notes to Editors
An image of Debbie McGill is available
3. ABDO represents over 6000 qualified dispensing opticians in the United Kingdom. Registered office, 199, Gloucester Terrace, London W2 6LD.