Promoting Good Vision and Safe Driving

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L-R: Mr. Yekini Kareem, Dr. Ogechi Nwokedi, a beneficiary, Mr. Waheed Adewuyi and Mrs. Olabisi Shonubi at the event

Funke Olaode

“I t is better to lose a minute in life than to lose a life in a minute,” says the popular cliché. There is no doubt that good eyesight and visual perception are fundamental to safe driving. This is very important as over 90 percent of decisions made while driving depend on what one can see.

According to statistics, an estimated 23 per cent of drivers worldwide have uncorrected vision and need spectacle correction to improve visual capacity while driving. Also, an estimated 59 per cent of accidents have been linked to poor sight such as failure to use corrective lenses to view from afar. While the risk of car crashes increase by nine percent in drivers who are visually impaired, it is alarming that an estimated 1.2 million people die and 50 million are injured in road traffic accidents yearly throughout the world.

The irony of it is that all drivers, both commercial and private including cyclists who should have their eyes tested annually pay little attention to this fact. To avoid road crashes, drivers with blur distance vision should get their prescribed glasses and make sure they wear the glasses when driving.

It is against this backdrop that the Nigerian Optometric Association, Lagos branch in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission and Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (Yaba branch) recently organised a one-day awareness programme to sentisize drivers at the Yaba Motor Park on the danger of driving with blurred vision. Emphasis was also laid on why drivers should have their vision screened.

President, The Nigerian Optometric Association, Lagos branch, Dr. Ogechi Nwokedi, said the World Sight Day is marked globally every second Thursday of October. The day is earmarked to further create and raise awareness on eye health and vision care amongst the populace with the hope of preventing blindness through knowledge and information. The theme for this year was “Stronger Together”.

Advising people to eat nutritional foods that can aid clear vision, Nwokedi stressed that what you eat determines who you are. “A good nutrition is the best. There are food that are rich in eye toxidant such a carrots, vegetables, fruits, ewedu, green leaves, orange or anything reddish fruit such as pawpaw. We encourage people to eat a rainbow, take lots of water, food rich in Omega three and vitamin A. That is basically what I can advise.”

Corroborating Nwokedi,Acting Sector Public Education Officer, Lagos Sector Command, FRSC, Olabisi Shonusi, said the FRSC was involved as a lead agency in traffic management. “What we are advocating is for people to get their eye checked and people should not shy away once they have blur or bad vision. Today, free glasses were given. This will encourage people that wearing glasses is not a disease. When you see the statistics of people who have had crashes it is about 59 per cent. Once you have a good vision it helps you to arrive at safe destination.”

One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Waheed Adewuyi, a driver who didn’t know he had reading problem expressed his gratitude to the organisers. “I thank the organisers of this eye screening. I didn’t know I have reading problems. I am grateful for their effort in aiding my visual vision.”