All drivers should be required to prove their vision meets the legal standard every ten years, according to a new campaign by The Association of Optometrists (AOP).

The optical body launched its Don’t swerve a sight test campaign on 14 November, ahead of Road Safety Week (20 – 26 November).

Optometrist and AOP board member Dr Julie Anne-Little said: ‘The UK system, which relies on self-reporting and an initial number plate test, falls behind many other countries. Because sight changes can be gradual, often people won’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time. This campaign is about reminding drivers that with a visit to their optometrist – they can not only make sure they meet the standard but help make our roads safer.’

Its member research has found more than one in three optometrists have seen a patient in the past month with vision below the legal standard, yet continued to drive against advice.

More findings, from the AOP’s 1,000-member Voice of Optometry panel, showed 91% believed current sight requirements for a driving licence were insufficient.

An additional public poll commissioned by the optical body, among 2,000 adults, showed that 30% of current road users have doubted whether their vision is adequate. A quarter delayed getting their eyes checked by an optometrist despite suspecting their vision was deteriorating and 6% admitted to stalling a sight test for more than a year.

This survey also found that 40% would stop driving altogether if they were told their vision, even with glasses or contact lenses, was below the legal standard for driving. Ten per cent said they would continue to drive as normal, regardless.