Tuesday October 23, 2018

550 mn Indians live with uncorrected refractive errors, leading to rampant road accidents

Poor vision plays a critical role in safe driving

0
//
83
Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2017: With a staggering 550 million Indians — close to half the population — living with uncorrected refractive errors, the major cause of road accidents, and 63 percent of the world’s population in need of vision correction, two major stakeholders have come together to address the issue in this country and globally.

“Poor vision plays a critical role in safe driving, but we know that much of that could be avoided. According to an analysis by Boston Consulting Group, 23 per cent of drivers have uncorrected vision, but in India that number is 46 per cent — the highest of any country in the world,” Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer of French lensmaker Essilor International, told IANS during a visit here of the three-year partnership with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

The “Action for Road Safety” partnership aims to create awareness on this global health issue and highlight the importance of regular eye checks for safe driving. The call to “Check Your Vision” will be commonly promoted towards local authorities, institutions, NGOs, eye care & medical professionals, driving schools and road users, among others, he added.

The figures for India are horrifying with some 138,000 people being killed in road accidents each year. Last week, Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari released the annual publication, ‘Road Accidents in India – 2016’, which revealed that fatalities resulting from these accidents have risen by about 3.2 per cent.

According to the Home Ministry, there was a 17.6 per cent increase in road accident deaths from 2008 to 2012, and 50 per cent of those who died were aged between 15 and 34.

“Something must be changed,” exclaimed Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director of the Vision Impact Institute, which is funded by the Essilor Social Impact Fund.

Speaking about the initiative in India, Bhuvaraghan noted that access to optometric eye care is limited, as there are approximately seven doctors of optometry per 1 million people across India, well below the world average of 25/1M.

Also Read: Unnatural deaths mostly due to road accidents in India: Report 

“But there is one other key barrier to corrected vision that we must still address: Acceptance. In India, stigmas exist around spectacle wear for all ages, but it is a tremendous issue for those in the professional driving industry.

“We have heard from many in this industry that wearing spectacles can be seen as a weakness or a visible defect. Therefore, many drivers are not wearing the correction they need, even when it is prescribed. Drivers were fearful of not being hired if they are thought to be defective,” he added.

To this end, The Vision Impact Institute is working to break down these stigmas through education, utilising the personal testimonies of other drivers for which vision correction and eye protection have been a benefit rather than a drawback, Gross explained.

A Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) interim report on ‘Assessment of Visual Limitations of Commercial Drivers in Metropolitan Cities in India’ focusses on commercial drivers in Delhi. The study was in association with the Vision Impact Institute. The sample size of the survey was 627 drivers and the study was conducted during August 8-14, 2017. Seventy per cent of those surveyed were light motor vehicle drivers, 24 per cent were heavy motor vehicle drivers, four per cent were private bus drivers while one per cent were government bus drivers.

According to the preliminary findings:

* One in every three drivers had either marginal or poor Far Visual Acuity (distance vision)

* Half the drivers surveyed had either marginal or poor Near Visual Acuity (near vision)

* Overall 29 per cent drivers, mostly among the older age group, with marginal and unacceptable stereopsis (depth perception) problems were more likely to be involved in accidents

* Overall 34 per cent drivers were found glare blind (56-60 per cent of the younger group of drivers had glare-related problems, 29-44 per cent of the older group of drivers had glare-related problems)

As for FIA, with its 245 member-clubs, representing over 80 million road users in 144 countries worldwide and its strong showcase in motor sport (F1, WEC, WTCC, WRC, World RX, ERC, Formula E et al), it “is a major global voice in the automotive world and is strongly committed to raising awareness and taking action on this global issue”, Bhuvaraghan concluded. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Wearing helmet may reduce spine injury risk during crash

0
Wear helmets to reduce spine injuries. Wikimedia Commons
Wear helmets to reduce spine injuries. Wikimedia Commons
  • Helmets may prevent serious spine injury risks
  • Cervical spine fractures were found more often in patients who were not wearing helmets
  • Helmets need to be necessary for riding two-wheelers

Helmet usage while riding a motorcycle lowers the likelihood of cervical spine injury (CSI), particular fractures of the cervical vertebrae, a new study has found.

Helmets are important for road safety. www.livelaw.in
Helmets are important for road safety. www.livelaw.in

Major reasons cited for not requiring helmets while riding a motorcycle include freedom of choice, avoiding any limitation on vision and a perceived increased risk of receiving a CSI.

The last reason is based on the belief that the added weight of a helmet might increase torque on the cervical spine, the researcher said. “Our study suggests that wearing a motorcycle helmet is a reasonable way to limit the risk of injury to the cervical spine in a motorcycle crash,” said Nathaniel P. Brooks, MD at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison, in the US.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates, wearing helmets saved the lives of 1,859 motorcycle riders in 2016; an additional 802 lives could have been saved if every motorcyclist had worn them.

Also Read: Government to launch road safety policy: Modi

For the study, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, researchers reviewed the charts of 1,061 patients who had been injured in motorcycle crashes and treated at a single Level 1 trauma centre in Wisconsin between the year 2010 to 2015.

Of those patients, 323 (30.4 percent) were wearing helmets at the time of the crash and 738 (69.6 percent) were not, as Wisconsin law does not require all riders to wear a helmet. At least one CSI was sustained by 7.4 percent of the riders wearing a helmet and 15.4 percent of those not wearing one.

Road accidents in India
Wearing helmets can reduce risk of spinal injuries during accidents. Pixabay

Cervical spine fractures occurred more often in patients who were not wearing helmets (10.8 percent compared to 4.6per cent), as did ligament injuries (1.9 percent compared with 0.3 percent); again these differences are statistically significant, the researchers said.

There were no significant differences between groups (helmeted vs. unhelmeted riders) with respect to other types of cervical spine injuries that were sustained: nerve root injury, cervical strain, or cord contusion. IANS