Every year, a number of accidents on the highways occur involving huge transportation trucks. These accidents although inevitable can be avoided with some proper following of rules and regulations and proper care of the drivers of these trucks. According to a recent research by the ICARE Eye Hospital in Noida, it has been discovered that over 50% of all truck drivers on Indian roadways have vision-related issues. In collaboration with the non-profit organization Sightsavers India, the hospital examined the eyes of 34,000 truck drivers nationwide.
Image courtesy Red Trucking
The study found that 38% of the truckers evaluated had issues with their close vision, 8% had problems with their distance vision, and 4% had both distance- and near-vision abnormalities. Additionally, none of the truck drivers used glasses, and the 36 to 50 age range was the one with the majority of near-vision issues. Additionally, the study indicated that the younger age range of 18 to 35 years accounted for 45% of all occurrences with distance-vision impairments.
Commenting on the study revelations, Dr Saurabh Choudhry, CEO, ICARE Eye Hospital’s stated, “As an eye hospital, we have been aware that large number of accidents on Indian roads happen because of vision-related problems of drivers. Most truck drivers tested by us did not realize they had a compromised vision and had never undergone any eye examination. This left them prone to accidents,”
He further added, “There are 9 million truck drivers on Indian roads. Extrapolating the data from our field study, we can assume that half of them would have vision problems. They would have been deemed unfit to drive without proper glasses and eye checkup had they been in any western country,”
The Ceo of the ICARE Eye Hospitals then also added that they have also helped in reloving these problems for the drivers to an extent. He said, “In association with our partner Sightsavers, we provided the drivers ready-to-clip (R2C) spectacles and dispensed glasses on the spot. For those having complex refractive errors, the glasses were customized and given to them on the next stop in their road journey. Using various technology tools and apps, we made sure they were wearing the glasses on the highways while driving,”
Meanwhile the doctor also claimed that the disorganized nature of truck drivers’ jobs deters them from addressing their health problems seriously. He revelead that the majority of them are from rural regions without access to preventative or therapeutic eye exams. They have never had a screening for eye problems or the need for glasses.
Elaborating on the issue, Dr Saurabh Choudhry also added, “In our experience, most truck drivers tend to develop dry eyes and chronic allergic eye conditions due to long working hours and improper hygiene. Many drivers above 60 years of age also suffer from cataract or glaucoma. A routine eye check-up is a must for all truck drivers so that they remain safe for themselves and others,”
The RAAHI – National Truckers Eye Health Programme was launched in 2017 by an NGO called Sightsavers India with the goal of ensuring the safety of commuters on roads. ICARE Eye Hospital joined the project in 2018. 34,000 truck drivers have subsequently been examined for eye conditions and refractive problems.