Today at the 2nd World Congress of Optometry, Essilor and The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), announced to the optical industry their commitment to promoting the role of vision in road safety. This partnership received the distinct endorsement of the World Council of Optometry and the Vision Impact Institute. The partnership was applauded for its efforts to promote vision as a key pillar of road safety on a global scale through wide awareness-building campaigns.
“For years, vision has taken a back seat on the road safety agenda – in fact, we have seen it virtually disappear from the global discussion,” said Dr. Uduak Udom, President, World Council of Optometry. “As optometrists, we know that road safety begins with good vision, and I am pleased to place the WCO collective stamp of approval on this partnership and the work it will accomplish to prioritize the role of vision in driving over the coming years.”
According to the World Health Organization, every year 1.25 million people are killed in road crashes around the world and 50 million more are left seriously injured. Road safety begins with good vision, which is the most important sense to take decisions on the road. But public awareness is low and access to quality eyeglasses remains limited in many regions of the world. In addition, many drivers are not aware of the need to protect their vision from glare in sunny conditions or when driving at night.
Jayanth Bhuvagharan, Chief Mission Officer, Essilor stated: “Through this partnership, Essilor and the FIA are combining two objectives into one common ambition for the greater good: ensuring safe mobility across the world by improving people’s sight. The purpose of the 3-year partnership is to fight the lack of awareness on this global health issue and highlight the importance of regular eye checks for safe driving.” He continued: “Through the call to action, ‘Check your vision’ we aim to encourage people to visit an eye care practitioner for regular eye checks. We are delighted to have the support of the optical industry’s governing body, World Council of Optometry and the Vision Impact Institute for this partnership and important cause.”
“Check your vision”, a vital New Golden Rule
The recent announcement by the FIA on the 8th May of a New Golden Rule, “Check your vision”, also represents a major step in raising awareness on poor vision as a major public health issue. It will add on to the FIA’s existing Golden Rules for road safety on other key risk factors such as speed, alcohol, seatbelt…(e.g. “Obey the speed limit”, “Never drink and drive”, “Buckle up”, etc.).
Essilor will endorse road safety by providing messages, data and analysis to support FIA’s communications on the crucial role of vision in the fight against road death. It will also further reinforce its products range based on the drivers’ specific needs. Additionally, Essilor will continue to leverage innovation as a way to better correct and protect the vision of the “vulnerable road users” (pedestrians, cyclists, etc.).
Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute, welcomed news of the partnership: “Since its inception, the Vision Impact Institute has worked to raise the priority of healthy vision for drivers as one of four key areas of focus. Our efforts to create change in this area, both globally and specifically in India, include building awareness through research on the role of healthy vision in driving. We are delighted to work alongside the industry as it comes together to advocate for road safety.”
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*Current Science. Assessment of Driver Vision Functions in Relation to Their Crash Involvement in India. Volume 110. Number 6. 2016.