The research aims to raise awareness of the lack of access to eye care faced by an estimated 1 billion people in developing countries.
In the UK, almost 80 per cent of drivers surveyed who are legally required to wear glasses or contact lenses said they sometimes forget to wear them while driving. More than a third (35 per cent) said this happens on most days they are driving, and more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they forget to wear their glasses or contact lenses every week.
Just a fifth (22 per cent) of people required to wear glasses or contact lenses said they always wear them while driving.
Sightsavers argues that the human cost of not wearing glasses, known as uncorrected refractive error, is greater than most people realise, particularly in terms of road safety worldwide. The charity is working in India to check the eyesight of half a million truck drivers to minimise road accidents over the next three years. More than 200,000 people are estimated to be killed on India’s roads each year.
In 2016, Sightsavers screened more than 17,500 truck drivers across India and found that almost half (46.7 per cent) of the truckers who were driving without glasses needed them to see clearly.
In a smaller study, almost 63 per cent of drivers who took part in the programme said they had difficulty seeing distant objects and just over 37 per cent reported difficulty reading. As part of the project, 7,600 truckers have received free glasses to improve road safety as well as their quality of life.