Saturday December 14, 2019

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

Poor vision plays a critical role in safe driving

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Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

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)

Next Story

Teens with ADHD More Likely to Face High Road Accident Risk, Says Study

The study highlighted that drivers with ADHD had higher rates of “alcohol or drug violations and moving violations (including speeding, non-use of seat belts

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child, ADHD
The results indicate that children with ADHD who received canine assisted intervention (CAI) experienced a reduction in inattention and an improvement in social skills. Pixabay

Teenage drivers diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are significantly more likely to engage in rash driving, violate traffic rules and crash as compared to their contemporaries without ADHD, says a study.

In the study published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Pennsylvania, found that teenagers with ADHD are more likely to engage in risky driving, such as driving while intoxicated, not wearing seat belt and speeding.

“What this study suggests is that we have to go beyond current recommendations of medication and delaying the age of getting license to decrease crash risk for teens with ADHD,” said Allison E. Curry, lead author of the study and a senior scientist at CHOP.

“Their higher rate of citations suggest that risky driving behaviours may account for why they crash more,” Curry added.

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The research results may lead to better learning methods and even help people who suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) by influencing the nature and pace of their breathing. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers included identified 1,769 newly-licensed teenage drivers with childhood-diagnosed ADHD and compared their crash and traffic violation records with those of the drivers without ADHD.

The study’s findings showed that among teen drivers with ADHD, nearly 37 per cent were issued a traffic violation and nearly 27 per cent a moving violation within their first year of driving, as compared to 25 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, among those without ADHD.

Also Read- Here’s What Google Android Restrictions Mean for Huawei

The study highlighted that drivers with ADHD had higher rates of “alcohol or drug violations and moving violations (including speeding, non-use of seat belts and electronic equipment use)”.

“We need additional research to understand the specific mechanisms by which ADHD symptoms influence crash risk so that we can develop skills training and behavioural interventions to reduce the risk for newly licensed drivers with ADHD,” said Thomas J. Power, study’s co-author and Director of the Centre for Management of ADHD at CHOP. (IANS)