Having good eyesight is the most important and critical part of being a driver because driving relies heavily on the driver’s vision. Just like any other countries, Philippine’s LTO also includes eyesight check-up as a requirement before gaining a driver’s license. Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology or PAO strongly believes that is a must to set a visual standard for applicants to ensure safety and filter those who are physically fit for driving (day and night).
How does eyesight being tested?
Before getting your driver’s license, you will have to go through several procedures first. Right after taking the drug test, the eyesight test comes next as part of the medical exam of LTO. The testing site is conducted in the LTO office you are applying at. The test is just a basic procedure that follows the standard procedure of using a Snellen chart to check how far and clear your eyes can see. Do not wear reading or graded glassed to ensure that the physician will get your vision as accurate as possible. Negative findings or abnormalities on this eyesight test will result to driving restrictions that will later be encrypted on the driver’s license. But if you opt to wear a graded eyeglasses, it will also be included in your license stating that you needed them in driving. Any restrictions should be followed by the license holder. If not, traffic enforcers have the right to issue a ticket or arrest you if you fail to follow the restrictions stated on your license.
Below are the driver restrictions:
- 20/50 vision qualifies for driving with corrective glasses/lenses
- 20/60 vision qualifies for daytime driving only
- Persons with cataracts are not allowed to drive at night
If you have one weak eye and the other is very strong, you might fail the eyesight test but still pass the tests of an optometrist. It would be best to seek an optometrist as well in this kind of case. An optometrist is a person whose job is to examine people’s eyes to find out if they need eyeglasses or medical treatment.
Types of vision used when driving
As mentioned above, driving requires good eyesight to avoid occurrence of accidents on the road. With that being said, below are the types of visual functions that are crucial to driving in accordance to PAO
1. Visual acuity
Most countries have this kind of criterion. Visual acuity describes how well you see details with your central vision. This is measured by the ability to discern letters and numbers at a given distance. It is assumed that if a person has this, it will be easier for him to detect and react to road signs, pedestrians, obstacles and other vehicles.
2. Peripheral Visual Field
Peripheral vision, also known as side vision gives you the ability to see and recognize things and movements that is already out of our central vision. This vision allows drivers to see and avoid curbs, barricades or height clearance and allows them avoid collision and see approaching pedestrians.
3. Glare and Contrast Sensitivity
This visual function is the ability to distinguish finer increments of light versus the dark. This is very important in driving in situations of low light, fog or glare that results to reduction of contrast between objects and their backgrounds. Contrast sensitivity is basically important especially in driving at night to avoid accidents.
4. Color Vision
Color vision is the ability to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of the light they reflect or emit. This helps you recognize traffic lights, hazard warning lights and emergency lights indicators. It also helps you distinguish objects in color bands that are problematic.
Accommodation (or accommodation-convergence reflex) is the reflex action of the eye in response to focusing on a close object, then looking at a distant one afterwards and doing it vice versa. Accommodation consists coordinated changes in vergence, lens shape, and pupil size. Accommodation can be improved by doing a simple exercise where one would look at a distance then at something close to you and repeating the process over and over again.
6. Depth Perception
One contributor for achieving this is using your two eyesights. People with good binocular vision are able to judge distance accurately that allow them to maneuver the car and change lanes which are crucial skills in driving. If you happen to be monocular (one eyesight), it would be better for you to refrain from driving for a while until your vision has already adjusted to using one vision.