Vision impairments in everyday life and their dangers
The dangerous effects of vision impairments and how you can reduce the risk by taking precautionary measures
Hello from Dorsten! My name is Ruth Bellendorf, and I am the chief optician and owner of the Bellendorf optician’s shop – “Everything for the eyes”. Due to my profession, I am confronted with the topic of ‘vision impairments’ every day. From conversations with customers, I know that many only became aware of their own vision-impairment problems when they realized how much worse their eyesight was compared to other People’s, e.g., when children are unable to read the board in class.
Others were diagnosed via more complicated routes because they constantly complained of headaches. All of this can be easily remedied with glasses or other means of correcting vision – so most People are scarcely restricted in their everyday lives. However, if you are unaware of your own vision disorder, the consequences can be devastating.
Undiagnosed visual impairment while driving – the cause of many traffic accidents?
If you need a pair of glasses in order to see a reasonable distance, you’ll be obliged to wear your glasses while driving in most cases. But what if you do not know that you have a vision impairment? I became especially aware of how serious this problem is when I had a conversation with the Bottrop-based naturopaths Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger, who recently filmed their new video in my specialized store. As many as 300,000 accidents in Germany are attributed to vision impairments every year.
That's a terrifying amount. During my research, I came across the following number: 7.5 million (!) car drivers could be on the road here in this country, despite not being able to see properly in the dark! (https://www.zeit.de/mobilitaet/2017-11/sehvermoegen-autofahrer-unfaelle-dunkelheit-strassenverkehr) If you hear that, you might feel scared and apprehensive. But how can it be that so many car drivers expose themselves to such a danger?
Night blindness – vision impairments, especially at night, are a problem
Many eyesight problems develop over time and can have different causes. Classic short and long-sightedness often develop during adolescence and are therefore often diagnosed early. In contrast, other types of visual impairment arise because of eye diseases. For example, cataracts, also known as lens opacity, can manifest through increasingly blurred vision, while glaucoma may cause the field of vision to be progressively restricted. Each disease has its own symptoms here.
However, what these eye diseases have in common in almost all cases is that they develop gradually and are therefore barely noticeable at the beginning. Nevertheless, in bad light, such as at night, the defects always appear much more pronounced. It can therefore happen that even People who can actually see relatively well during the day suddenly no longer perceive many things at night - they suffer from night-blindness! The risk of accidents therefore becomes particularly high again, right now in the ‘dark season’.
Have an early check-up as protection against vision impairments
While impaired vision is often just a bother in most everyday situations, it becomes a real danger behind the wheel and, to top it all off, exposes all other road users to the risk. Ophthalmologists and associations therefore recommend that People over 40 have their eyes checked regularly. Because at this age, the danger of developing many eye diseases increases somewhat rapidly. A check-up can therefore be very worthwhile, especially since most eye diseases can now be treated successfully.
Previously undiagnosed defective vision can possibly be determined in this way. Incidentally, there are tests for this at opticians as well. Although some health insurance companies won’t pay for check-ups with an ophthalmologist, I find the service worthwhile, especially in relation to the risks. Those who perceive symptoms of vision impairment or belong to a special risk group like diabetics should, in my opinion, not scrimp on the expense. And: glaucoma can, in principle, affect anyone. The sooner it is identified, the better.
Keep informed about vision impairments
I believe that everyone should monitor the health of their eyes, regardless of whether they have perfect vision or not. Although many eye diseases are treatable, many People in Germany go blind every year when they could have been helped by a timely diagnosis. The fact that it might even prevent accidents, makes it all the more sensible to me. Certainly, it is not appropriate to panic, but just a little more mindfulness in everyday life can make a difference.
Information about the eyes is actually in abundance today, whether it is on the Internet, at the ophthalmologist, at the naturopath or at the optician. As an expert, I Personally like to be available to anyone who has questions about the eyes.
Do you feel well informed about the topic of vision impairments? Did you know about the dangers or would you have imagined that so many People drive cars despite not being able to see properly at night? I look forward to your opinions, experiences and comments!