Travelling long distances on South African roads during the festive season can be intimidating.
Tania Noach, Optometrist at Vision Works, says that while you’re on the road, your eyes are constantly working moving, adjusting and refocussing, depending on the scene in front of you. They additionally have to contend with distractions such as on-coming traffic, checking the route on GPS, pedestrians, wildlife, the scenery, as well as our bright sunlight.
All these activities make your eyes work harder than they should, which is why it is important to provide them with the support and care that they need.
‘Just as you would make sure your vehicle is road-worthy before a long trip, testing your eyes regularly for their road-worthiness, is essential,’ Tania continues, adding, ‘You should get your eyes tested at least once every two years, depending on the severity of your visual impairment, and if you wear contact lenses, you must be tested once every year.’
A few handy tips before hitting the roads to make this a safe summer:
- Regular breaks are important. The simple act of stopping for 5 minutes every hour and closing your eyes for a while makes a significant impact on your vision, as it assists in resetting your eyes’ functionality, helping to ensure that you carry on with your journey safely.
- Your eyes are just like your skin, they need protection from the sun so remember to wear your sunglasses. Make sure that they get sunglasses which offer them 100% ultraviolet (UV) protection.
- Don’t forget about proper eye-care. Always make sure you have your contact lens care kit with you wherever you go.
- Staying hydrated is not only important for your body, but for your eyes as well. Make sure water is a staple in your travel packs – remember that car aircons and moving air causes tears to evaporate quicker and the eye surface to dry out. Red scratchy eyes will not make road challenges easier.
- If you are having doubts that your eyes may not be up to the task of driving, observe the notion of safety first, and do not take the risk. Rather get your eyes tested by a professional optometrist well before your departure, to ensure you have sufficient time to fill a prescription if necessary.
Tania adds that anyone can visit their local Vision Works optometrist for a comprehensive eye test, for only a R90 cash fee.
‘I would advise all drivers that they must have the best possible eyewear in place, in order for them to ensure their safety during their festive driving. While we all enjoy meeting new people and creating new friendships along our journeys, as the old adage goes – let’s not meet by accident.’