Poor eye vision common among TN truck drivers

Stricter screening, periodical checks needed, opines expert body behind the study
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

CHENNAI: At least one per cent of heavy vehicle drivers in Tamil Nadu have severe vision issues, according to data with the India Vision Institute, a non-profit trust that conducts mass vision screenings.
Volunteers from the institute conducted vision screening for nearly 10,000 drivers of heavy vehicles over the last one year and found that many among them had problems with their vision. The results of a few drivers were startling as some had nearsightedness (myopia) of -2 and -3, meaning their distance-vision would be completely blurred. 

“We have embarked on a mission to screen all the drivers across the State and provide vision correcting spectacles to the needy. We have screened several drivers in different districts of Tamil Nadu, including in Namakkal, Salem, Coimbatore, and Chennai. The results were an eye opener. We clearly need a policy and social change,” said Vinod Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of the India Vision Institute. He further added, a 30-year-old driver in Thoothukudi had -3 vision, which is really poor. 

With Tamil Nadu already holding a dubious distinction for highest number of accidents, this is a cause for concern. “The primary reasons why drivers do not come forward to get their eyes checked is that they fear they might lose their job. Public here do not board buses or vehicles driven by those wearing spectacles and even firms hesitate giving driving jobs to those with specs. It is high time that everyone understands that a driver with spectacles is safer than one who does not wear it,” said Vinod.

The institute also called on the government to act on this. According to Vinod, the government authorities usually see ‘vision’ as a mere check-box during driving licence approval. “It does not take much time to screen a person. When somebody applies/renews their licence, eye screening must be mandatory. Also, periodical checks should be done. This will play a major role in reducing road accidents in the State,” be said.

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