Rebecca Harris urges Castle Point residents to have regular eye tests

Castle Point MP, Rebecca Harris, visited Castle Opticians in Thundersley last week to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness and to promote the importance of optical health in motorists.

Rebecca has regularly been raising awareness of motorists getting regular eye tests to improve road safety. Rebecca has been campaigning on this issue ever since hearing the tragic story of her constituent, Reverend Brenda Gutberlet from Canvey.

Brenda lost her Niece, Natalie Wade, in 2006 when she was hit by a car whilst using a pedestrian crossing near her home in Rochford. Natalie was out shopping for her wedding dress when she was knocked down by a driver who had been told by medical professionals that his eyesight was far too poor to continue driving. Natalie was taken to hospital but suffered severe brain damage from the collision and died 5 days later on Valentine’s Day 2006.

Recent research carried out by national optometrists, Vision Express, found that 92% of drivers surveyed believe they meet the legal eyesight requirement for driving, yet over 60% failed to identify what this is. The research also revealed that 15% of drivers hadn’t had a sight check since reading a number plate during their driving test, which was on average, 14 years ago and 94% of drivers do not realise you can lose 40% of your vision without noticing.


Rebecca said:


“It is so important to get your eyes tested regularly, particularly for motorists. We take our cars in for an MOT every year to make sure that they are roadworthy yet we don’t do the same for our eyes which are equally as important when it comes to driving. Most opticians offer free eye tests and even if you aren’t eligible for a free test the cost of one is a lot less than a tank of petrol!


Even if you don’t drive, an eye test can catch underlying health problems such as Glaucoma or Diabetes allowing early treatment before they become serious enough that they may cause sight loss.


I would urge anyone if you haven’t had an eye test in the last two years to head to your local opticians for an eye test and take one.”


Reverend Brenda Gutberlet commented:


"The DVLA statistics for police stops and referrals of drivers to the DVLA show that too many drivers are either unaware of their failing vision or are prepared to take risks knowing they are medically unfit to drive. To drive when medically unfit invalidates your car insurance.


Why wait till you are in a road collision? ACT NOW- book an eye test and be a lifesaver!"