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Awareness about visual problems amongst truck and bus drivers of Nagpur City.

INTRODUCTION: Good Vision is one of the most essential parameters of safe driving. Poor vision may become the cause of major road accidents. This study aimed at finding out awareness about importance of good vision and visual problems in Truck and Bus drivers as this profession remains somewhat neglected as far as Eye Care is concerned. Studies in drivers are relatively small in scale. In European Union as well as in most other countries, there are legal standards for the visual functions of drivers. Relatively little attention is paid to the prevalence of visual problems in driving population in India. The objective of this study is to provide recommendations for forming guidelines to the licensing authorities about the heavy vehicle drivers.

METHODS: This was a cross sectional, non-comparative type of study. 200 truck and bus drivers participated in this study.

Inclusion Criteria: Truck and Bus Drivers who were willing to participate.

Exclusion Criteria: Non-public transport and small vehicle drivers were excluded from the study.

The study was conducted at Mahatme Eye Bank Eye Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra; India, between Feb 2009 and March 2010 after approval from the ethical committee. Initially a pilot study was conducted on 100 drivers to decide about the sample size. Based on the prevalence of visual impairment amongst them, the required sample size was 170. We studied 200 drivers including 115 truck drivers and 85 bus drivers. Drivers were selected randomly on voluntary basis. Four groups A, B, C, and D were formed according to their age. A simple questionnaire in local language was administered that recorded drivers' general information, age, approximate number of years of holding the license, the approximate timing of their last eye sight test, whether vision was tested before seeking license, importance of periodic eye checkup, knowledge about common eye problems like cataract, glaucoma, corneal problems, the source of information etc. The results were tabulated and evaluated.

RESULTS: 200 truck and bus drivers were studied. Study subjects were classified into four groups according to their age as follows.

* Group A--less than or equal to 25 years.

* Group B--26 to 40 years.

* Group C--41 to 55 years.

* Group D--more than 55 years.

Table 1: Shows Age distribution of the study subjects.

Group A had 17 drivers, group B 67, Group C had maximum that is 93 and Group D had 23 drivers.

Table 2: Shows driving experience of the drivers according to age groups. 29.5% drivers in survey had driving experience of less than 10 years, 31.5% had 10--20 years of driving experience, 29.5% were having 21 to 30 years of driving experience whereas only 1 % had over 40 years of driving experience.

Table 3: Shows frequency of eye checkup among these drivers. 76% drivers had never visited a specialist for eye care in their lifetime while 17% had single visit. None of them went for a regular checkup. These facts are quite alarming.

When asked to list common eye disorders the drivers enlisted certain diseases. Table 4 shows the details.

Majority of the drivers (93%) knew about the refractive error and cataract (54%).

Table 5: Shows the source of information from where these drivers received information about eye diseases.

Friends topped the list of source of information, followed by newspapers, family members and TV.

Table 6: Depicts the fact about how many underwent an eye checkup before getting the license.

Only 8.5% had undergone eye checkup prior to getting license--this is a serious matter of concern.

Table 7: Highlights the awareness about routine eye checkup after the age of 40. It is encouraging to know that 81% were aware of the need of routine eye checkup after the age of 40.

DISCUSSION: This study was undertaken to assess the awareness of visual problems and importance of eye checkup amongst 200 truck and bus drivers. It was found that all the drivers held a valid driving license but only 17 (8.5%) had undergone eye checkup prior to getting license. 152 (76%) had never visited an eye specialist in their lifetime while 34 (17%) had paid just a single visit to eye specialist. None of them had a regular eye checkup. This indicates apathy of drivers towards visual health. RTO should form legal standard norms for mandatory eye checkup before issuing or renewing license. According to study conducted in Nigeria (1) on visual functions of commercial drivers in relation to road accidents, poor visual acuity is strongly associated with road traffic accidents. In their study 84.5% did not have their eyes tested at first licensing and 92.7% did not have testing at least once during renewals. In the UK, the DVLA--Driver and Vehicle Licensng Authority has laid down the mandatory minimum level for driving and driving with uncorrected defective eyesight is an offence. (2) According to International Council of Ophthalmology (3) the visual examination and proper treatment should be mandatory to them and should be permitted to drive only if vision improved after treatment.

186 (93%) drivers in the study group had heard about refractive error and all of them knew that spectacles can solve the problem. 108 (54%) had heard about cataract and 85 (42.5% knew that surgery is the only treatment for cataract. In a population based epidemiological study conducted in Andhra Pradesh, India, 73.1% subjects were aware of cataract and 82.8% were aware that treatment for cataract was surgery. (4) In our study, 13.5% knew about glaucoma, out of this 44.44% knew that vision loss cannot be restored. KAP survey published in 20055 showed that 90% of all adults heard of glaucoma and can cause permanent vision loss. Only 7.5% of these drivers had heard about retinal and macular lesions. 6% of them knew what corneal lesions mean. This level of ignorance was quite expected. It was interesting to know that most of them (81%) opined that routine eye checkup is necessary after the age of 40 years. However 76% of the respondents had never visited an eye specialist whereas 17% had just a single visit and no one had gone for regular eye checkup. Media is still lacking as a major source of information in spreading awareness as most of the drivers got information from friends (60%).

CONCLUSION: Diminished vision or visual problems in drivers is a serious issue not only for the drivers themselves but it also puts the life of several civilians at stake. It is dangerous to drive with visual problems. The results of the present study call for the need of some legal measures as well as spreading awareness about the importance of vision among drivers. Optimum use of media is required for this. The importance of regular eye testing should be imbibed into the minds of drivers. Also, the licensing authority has to take stringent steps in making eye checkup mandatory before issuing or renewing the driving license.

DOI: 10.14260/jemds/2014/4088

REFERENCES:

(1.) Anuradha S, Potter C, Fernquest G; Vision and drivers--a South Wales survey, Department of Health Systems, Policy and Practice, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia National Public Health Service for Wales, UK. Road Policing Unit, Gwent Police Headquarters, Croesyceiliog NP44 2XJ, UK, Journal of Public Health; (ISSN 1741-3842) 2007, 29, 230-235.

(2.) Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency. At a glance guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive. DVLA Annual Report & Accounts 2008-09.

(3.) International council of ophthalmology, International standards--Vision requirements for Driving Safety--Section 5--suggested criteria and rules.

(4.) Awareness of eye diseases in an urban population in southern India. Bulletin World Health Organisation 2001: 79: 96-102.

(5.) Executive summary of 2005 Survey of Public knowledge, Attitude and practices related to eye health and diseases published by National Eye Health Education Program, National eye institute Lions Club international foundation.

Vikas Mahatme [1], Pallavi Alsi [2], Yogesh Jibhakate [3]

PARTICULARS OF CONTRIBUTORS:

[1]. Founder Medical Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Mahatme Eye Bank, Eye Hospital, Nagpur.

[2]. Senior Consultant, Department of Ophthalmology, Indrakshi Eye Care, Bhandara.

[3]. Consultant, Department of Ophthalmology, Indrakshi Eye Care, Bhandara.

NAME ADDRESS EMAIL ID OF THE

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:

Dr. Vikas Mahatme, Mahatme Eye Hospital, # 16, Central Excise Colony, Ring Road, Chhatrapati Square, Nagpur.

E-mail: sm@mahatmehospital.com

Date of Submission: 06/12/2014.

Date of Peer Review: 08/12/2014.

Date of Acceptance: 18/12/2014.

Date of Publishing: 26/12/2014.
Table 1: AGE DISTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY SUBJECTS

Age in years                      N=200    Percentage

Less than or equal to 25 years      17         8.5
26 to 40 years                      67        33.5
41 to 55 years                      93        46.5
Over 55 years                       23        11.5

Table 2: DRIVING EXPERIENCE OF DRIVERS ACCORDING TO AGE GROUPS

Driving                Group A    Group B    Group C
Experience               N=17       N=67       N=93

Less than 10 years        17         35         07
10-20 years               00         28         31
21-30 years               00         04         52
31-40 years               00         00         03
More than 40 years        00         00         00

Driving                Group D    Total number
Experience               N=23      of Drivers
                                      N=200

Less than 10 years        00           59
10-20 years               04           63
21-30 years               03           59
31-40 years               14           17
More than 40 years        02           02

Table 3: FREQUENCY OF EYE CHECK UP

Frequency of           Group A    Group B    Group C
eye checkup              N=17       N=67       N=93

Never                     11         53         76
Single visit              6          10         11
More than 1 visit         0          4          06
Regular                   0          0          0

Frequency of           Group D    Total number
eye checkup              N=23      of Drivers
                                      N=200

Never                     12           152
Single visit              7            34
More than 1 visit         4            14
Regular                   0             0

Table 4: DISEASES ENLISTED BY THE DRIVERS

                               Group A    Group B    Group C
                                 N=17       N=67       N=93

Refractive error                  15         61         89
Corneal lesions                   02         05         03
Cataract                          5          31         57
Glaucoma                          2          09         13
Retinal and macular lesions       00         03         08

                                          Total number
                               Group D     of Drivers
                                 N=23         N=200

Refractive error                  21           186
Corneal lesions                   02            12
Cataract                          15           108
Glaucoma                          03            27
Retinal and macular lesions       04            15

Table 5: SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT EYE DISORDERS

Source of Information    Total N=200

Newspaper                  72 (36%)
TV                        69 (34.5%)
Friends                   120 (60%)
Family members            71 (35.5%)
Others                    09 (4.5%)

Table 6: EYE CHECKUP BEFORE GETTING LICENSE

                          Group A     Group B     Group C     Group D
                           N=17        N=67        N=93        N=23

Eye checkup done             4           9           0           4
                         (23.53%)    (13.43%)                (18.18%)
Eye checkup not done        13          58          93          19
                         (76.47%)    (86.57%)     (100%)     (82.60%)

                          Total number
                           of Drivers
                              N=200

Eye checkup done               17
                             (8.5%)
Eye checkup not done          183
                            (91.5%)

Table 7: NECESSITY OF EYE CHECKUP AFTER 40 YEARS OF AGE

Rouine Eye check necessary after the age of 40 years        162 (81%)
Routine Eye checkup is not necessary after the age of        38 (19%)
  40 years
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:ORIGINAL ARTICLE; Nagpur, India
Author:Mahatme, Vikas; Alsi, Pallavi; Jibhakate, Yogesh
Publication:Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Dec 29, 2014
Words:1810
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