17% of the Visually Impaired do not Wear Their Vision Aids When Driving

I am pleased to share with you the latest results from a recent study on how the French population is using low vision aids i.e. glasses, etc. At the Vision Impact Institute, we already know that many car and work related accidents, triggers for depression, domestic injuries and falls are related to impaired vision. We also know that 80% of visual impairments can be avoided or cured with cost effective solutions. The goal of our study was to measure what percentage of French people needed corrected vision and in what situations and circumstances they were wearing vision aids such as glasses.

We found that of the population that had impaired vision, nearly 75% have low vision aids. But, more surprisingly, of those who wear glasses, contacts or other visual aids, only 69% reported that they wore vision aids every time they drove or rode a motorcycle. In fact, 17% reported they never wear any type of vision aid when driving, despite their vision impairment.

I was also alarmed by the number of people who don’t see the necessity of wearing glasses during leisure time activities (e.g. when practising sport, watching TV, surfing on websites or doing DIY activities, which, by the way, can be extremely dangerous!) Only 59 % of the visually impaired wear vision aids all the time and while 41% reported wearing them only “from time to time”. Age also seems to play a factor in whether or not people chose to wear vision aids. The older age sets are more likely to wear glasses compared to the young. The worst offenders are between 35 and 44.

I would like to emphasize that this risky behavior is having huge impacts on the economy, both in France and around the world. The loss of economic productivity resulting from uncorrected vision is estimated at $269 billion per year and that’s not counting the costs of care reimbursements due to accidents at home and on the road. But, this is not a hopeless cause! There is significant and simple room for improvement. Depending on the type of activity, up to 25-40% of individuals could benefit from using vision aids more frequently. This is particularly the case for recreational activities. As you can see, behavioral changes are necessary for many. Of course some people will say that they do not use  their eyewear because of  their prescription. But is this really true ?

And again, while policymakers focus heavily on issues such as immunization, transmissible disease, obesity, tobacco addiction and alcoholism, vision impairment is often ignored. The situation will not change with out the mobilization of all the key stakeholders related to vision impairment. People like you.

I urge you to please share this information with your network. The Vision Impact Institute’s goal is to raise awareness on the effects of vision impairment on the global economy by offering access to a unique  database of peer-reviewed reports and studies from all around the world, as well as original analysis. Stay connected with us! Sign up at visionimpactinstitute.org to be informed when new research is posted, contact us if you’d like to know how you can contribute or if you need support for a speech related to vision impairment prevention and cost.

I hope to hear from you,

Jean-Felix Biosse Duplan

President of The Vision Impact Institute

(1) From February 28th to March 4th 2014, a representative sample of 1006 French people between the ages of 16 and 75 were surveyed by IPSOS.