Glaucoma and driving: the facts
Glaucoma The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) regularly receives calls from people unsure about whether they should be driving. CEO Karen Osborn clarifies.
As with many conditions, glaucoma is easier to manage the earlier it’s detected. The IGA encourages everyone to have an eye check every two years, or more often if advised by a medical professional. “It’s less of shock if you are at least aware of the condition,” says Osborn. “Glaucoma often has no early symptoms, so it’s important to monitor your eyesight.
“Drivers call the IGA’s helpline to ask whether or when they need to report an eyesight condition to the government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Very often they are quite anxious about the possible loss of their licence. If you do have a glaucoma diagnosis, there is a new online notification system making it easier to inform the DVLA online. Our data shows that nine out of 10 people tested by the DVLA will be safe to drive.”
As well as advising the public, the IGA works with vision professionals so that they understand the requirements around driving. The high street optometrist can provide regular eye health checks, which can help detect glaucoma in the early stages. If the glaucoma is advanced and there has been serious sight loss, the optometrist and hospital eye clinic should advise the driver with glaucoma that they should not drive until they have reported to the DVLA. The DVLA may require further tests to assess fitness to drive. [kb1]
Pharmacists are also key to ensuring proper treatment: “Sometimes people are putting eye drops in incorrectly so that they run down the cheeks or over the lids. Our helpline (01233 64 81 70) had a call today from a gentleman who hadn’t realised that glaucoma doesn’t just clear up – he needs to use drops for life. Your pharmacist or the IGA website can help.”
To find out more, download our 'Glaucoma and driving leaflet'.