The ICARE Hospital in Noida conducted a research recently, the results of which discovered that over 50% of Indian truck drivers plying on highways, who were examined by the hospital, suffer from deteriorated vision. In collaboration with the non-profit organization Sightsavers India, the hospital examined the eyes of 34,000 truck drivers nationwide.
If India has 9 million truck drivers, then considering the results of the research, around 50% of them would have vision related problems. This deems them unfit to drive without appropriate medical attention. Had they been in a western country, they wouldn’t have been allowed to drive without proper glasses.
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. The study also indicated that the younger age range of 18 to 35 years accounted for 45% of all occurrences with distance-vision impairments.
“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.”Dr. Saurabh Choudhry, CEO, ICARE Eye Hospital
In order to help the drivers, the Hospital, along with the NGO, are doing their share by providing the drivers with ready-to-clip 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. To ensure that the drivers were using the spectacles while driving, various technology tools and apps were used.
It is not unknown that the trucking industry in India leaves less to no room for ‘work-life balance’. According to Dr. Choudhry, the disorganized nature of truck drivers’ jobs deters them from addressing their health problems seriously. He revealed 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. 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.”