My son is about to turn 16. Like most kids his age, he’s excited to be getting his driving learner’s permit. He’s been looking forward to this since he was two years old and loved to pretend he was driving our car while it was parked in our driveway with the ignition turned off. We had to pry his fingers off the steering wheel. Now he can’t wait to get behind the wheel again. Like many parents, I have mixed feelings about my teenager
starting to drive. On one hand, it’s great we won’t have to always chauffer him to friends’ houses, after-school activities and movies. He could even help out with running errands and picking me up at the train station.

The flip side is being worried that your child will have an accident due to his or her inexperience or poor judgment. We do all we can to make sure our children get the best driver training possible and have a safe, functional car to drive. Yet how many parents also equip their children’s eyes for maximum safety behind the wheel?

When parents of teenage drivers make an appointment for their child to get a learner’s permit, they should also make an appointment for them to see their family eyecare professional. Whether or not the young driver has passed the DMV vision test, which is often only a crude indicator of visual acuity, it would be a good idea for them to have a complete eye exam. If needed, they can then get corrective lenses, update their old prescription or get a pair of Rx sunglasses. If no correction is needed, they can get a good quality pair of polarized plano sunglasses to protect them from blinding glare.

In this month’s L&T cover story, optician Barry Santini discusses how wearing the proper eyewear can help people of all ages drive more safely. Making sure your patients are visually well equipped for driving also makes good business sense. As Santini points out, “…the time is ripe for vision professionals to unlock the hidden sales potential of optimized eyewear for driving.”

—Andrew Karp