The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Survey: 1 in 5 Eyeglass Wearers Drives Without Prescription Glasses

December 15, 2010

DALLAS - While many people believe a bright, sunny day is optimal for driving, the reality is that blinding glare from sun, snow and vehicles is a significant contributing factor to fatal auto accidents. Additionally, a recent survey commissioned by Essilor of America Inc. found that 20 percent of eyeglass wearers sometimes drive without their prescription glasses and instead wear non-prescription sunglasses. 

For blinding glare when driving, simple solutions abound in the form of polarized, prescription sunglasses. In fact, a clinical study conducted by Essilor as a precursor to the survey found that driver reaction times improve by one-third of a second for drivers who wear polarized lenses. 

For a car traveling 50 miles per hour, one-third of a second allows a driver to stop 23 feet sooner, or the length of an intersection. In glare-intense situations, polarized lenses improve vision clarity by 75 percent, as opposed to ordinary sun lenses, allowing wearers to enjoy better clarity of vision. 

"Only one-third of eyeglass wearers have prescription sunglasses with polarized lenses," said Kim Schuy, senior global director of marketing for Essilor, a major manufacturer of optical lenses in the U.S. "As our roadways heat up this winter and glare from the sun and snow increases, it's critical that consumers discuss with their eyecare professional the life-saving benefits of prescription, polarized lenses." 

Trouble seeing while driving on sunny or snowy days is very common among glasses-wearers. However, those with prescription sunglasses, particularly those with polarized lenses, experience less trouble. Specifically, over 60 percent of eyeglass wearers surveyed agree that when driving during the day, glare from sun and snow makes it difficult to see while driving, according to Essilor's survey. 

For the study, KRC Research conducted 1,000 online interviews with American adults who wear prescription eyeglasses. To qualify for the survey, respondents needed to wear glasses "for practically everything," and be licensed drivers. Data was collected Nov.14-17. 

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