Optometry experts focus on Cambridge cabbies

Published: 5 March 2012 at 09:52

Taxi drivers volunteer to have vision tested for Anglia Ruskin research project.

Experts from Anglia Ruskin University’s Department of Vision and Hearing Sciences have hit the road to carry out their latest research.

Dr Keziah Latham, Dr Sheila Rae and Liam Kite set up a mobile clinic at Trumpington Park & Ride in Cambridge after being invited to South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Private Hire “Stop Day”.

As well as assessing whether the taxi drivers meet the required standards, the tests also form part of an ongoing research project by the department comparing the standard letter charts used by optometrists to the number plate recognition test used by driving examiners.

Dr Latham, a Senior Lecturer in Optometry & Ophthalmic Dispensing, said:

“The licensing officers were pleased to hear that the standard of vision of the taxi drivers we tested was very good.

“We would like to thank the drivers for their cooperation because as well as checking their vision against the driving standards, we were able to obtain some valuable research data.

“Our research is looking to compare the ability to read a number plate at 20m, which is the visual standard for ordinary drivers, with the ability to read different optometrists’ letter charts.  We hope that this will help optometrists when advising their patients on their visual fitness to drive.”

In a survey carried out last year by The College of Optometrists, a fifth of drivers admitted to having driven knowing that their vision isn’t as good as it should be and 16 per cent hadn’t undergone an eye test in the previous two years.

“Drivers are encouraged to have an eye examination with an optometrist at least once every two years,”

added Dr Latham.  

“Even if you think your vision is perfect, it can deteriorate without you noticing.  In an eye examination, not only will your vision be checked, but also the health of your eyes.  If there are any problems, these can be addressed sooner rather than later.”