Poor eyesight of drivers cause accident deaths

Dear Editor:
Everyday road accidents are killing many people for which careless driving by drivers are responsible primarily responsible. But now a newspaper report published on 12 May has caused fresh concerns. Ahmed Najmul Hossain of BRAC said the survey shed light for the first time on the issue of drivers’ vision. All concerned should focus on this problem.
The news item says that about 50 percent of public transport workers have vision problems, according to a survey conducted in the capital’s Sayedabad among 1,200 drivers and their assistants. Of those with vision problems, 76 percent need glasses and medication and 12.60 percent need surgery. BRAC Road Safety Programme and Junior Chamber International (Dhaka West) conducted the survey as part of an “eye camp” at Sayedabad Bus Terminal on April 23 and 24 this year. Kamran ul Baset, head of the BRAC programme, revealed these at the Findings Sharing Meeting on Eye Camp at the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority headquarters in Banani.
During the survey at Sayedabad, BRAC and JCI distributed medicines and glasses to the workers and promised them low cost surgeries, an official said. The event was organised by the BRTA, BRAC Road Safety Programme and JCI.They recommended raising awareness among transport workers about the importance of addressing eye problems. Of the 1,200 participants of the survey, 50 percent were drivers, mostly of buses, and 49 percent were assistants and the rest were both.
Twenty-nine (29) percent of the participants were aged between 31 and 40, 27 percent between 40 and 50, and 19 percent between 51 and 60. According to the findings, 21 percent respondents work from 12-16 hours a day, 40 percent from 8-12 hours, 34 percent from 4-6 hours and 5 percent about four hours. 52 percent of them work at daytime, 12 percent at night and 36 percent at both day and night.Although 96 percent of the respondents were aware of their problems, 72 percent of them never visited an eye specialist, the survey said. 87 percent participants were interested in paying for eye care. All of the participants said proper eye check-ups and care could increase road safety.
Doctors say that blurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight which makes objects appear out of focus and hazy. The main causes of blurred vision are refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and some other problems. But blurry vision also can be a symptom of more serious problems, including a probably sight-threatening eye disease or neurological problem. Blurred vision can affect both eyes, but some people experience blurry vision in one eye only.
Cloudy vision, where objects are obscured and appear “milky,” is often mistaken for blurry vision. Cloudy vision usually is a symptom of specific conditions such as cataracts, but blurry and cloudy vision can both be symptoms of a serious eye problem.
Eye diseases or conditions can cause visual impairment. Some of the more common causes of low vision include: Macular Degeneration. Macular degeneration is a disorder that affects the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye where images are focused.
The macula has a very high concentration of photoreceptor cells that detect light and send signals to the brain, which interprets them as images. The rest of the retina processes our peripheral or side vision. Macular disease causes loss of central vision. Macular deterioration is a problem that affects the retina which is the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye where images are focused. The macula-the area on the retina responsible for sharp central vision-deteriorates, causing blurred vision. This can cause difficulty reading and, for some, a blind spot in the central area of vision.
The researchers recommended that the government make vehicle owners ensure regular eye check-ups for their employees and eye tests be required for renewal of driving licenses. It also urged the BRTA and National Institute of Ophthalmology to open an eye testing booth at the BRTA offices.
76 percent of them need glasses, medications, the BRAC survey on 1,200 found.
A M K Chowdhury

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