A healthcare initiative by Vision Express, offering free eye tests from the Vision Van at the CV Show in Birmingham, has revealed:

  • 26% had not had an eye examination since passing their driving test
  • 81% were overdue an eye test
  • 17% had never had their eyes tested
  • 62% required a new prescription


Guests and exhibitors at this year’s Commercial Vehicle show were warned of the dangers of not looking after their eye health after over 80% of visitors to the Vision Van were found to be overdue an eye test. Worryingly, 26% – 1 in 4 – confessed to not having had a vision check since passing their driving test.


The Vision Express Vision Van was stationed at the NEC Birmingham for the 2018 show from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th April, to raise awareness of eye health by offering free eye tests to industry experts.


It was revealed that a shocking 81% of those who took advantage of the free eye test initiative were overdue a test, with 62% requiring a new prescription after testing.


The Commercial Vehicle Show is held every year in Birmingham, attracting professionals from the road and transport industry from across the globe – including regular HGV drivers. Despite this, it was discovered that 17% of those who came to see the Vision Van while at the exhibition had never had an eye test.


Oli Willson, 34, from Loughborough, came on-board the van for a free eye test due to recently experiencing discomfort in one eye, but admitted to never having his eyes tested before. “I’ve never had a test because I’ve always thought my vision was alright, but I’ve recently been having a twitch in one eye, so it was great that I saw the van at the show today, in a place that I wouldn’t have expected, which actually made me do it.”


He added: “I think the van is a great idea as we have such busy lifestyles now. With things such as work and children, trying to get in to do simple things like an eye test is always difficult. I didn’t know what to expect due to never having had one before and I asked quite a lot of questions, but the test was good, and the team was great. The process was explained well and it was easy. It’s good to know that there are no problems and I’ll be having regular tests now as I’m getting older.”


Fellow visitor to the van, Alistair Couper, was given a referral by the on-board optometrist due to minor pressure behind the eye. The 52-year-old, who had travelled from Halifax in West Yorkshire to the show, said: “I’m exhibiting at the CV Show and one of my staff told me about the Vision Van. I was having some discomfort and pain in my eye and I was due an eye test, so it was the perfect opportunity. It was over a year ago since I’d last had an eye test.


He added: “I’ve been given a referral letter for the doctor for a blood pressure check, which is very useful. I’m delighted that I came on-board today – it was a very professional service and I would encourage all of my staff to get regular eye tests, especially as they’re high computer users.”


Vision Express launched its brand new Vision Van at the beginning of the year, and the high-tech mobile eye testing facility is journeying across the UK to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining regular eye tests, especially for drivers.


Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “‘Our Eye Tests Save Lives campaign specifically targets drivers, to encourage them to consider if their sight is up to scratch before they get behind the wheel. Statistics indicate that around 3,000 road casualties every year are down to people driving with below par vision – so it is a significant road safety issue. We are committed to addressing it by attending events such as the CV Show and offering free tests on the Vision Van. And the great news is that policy-makers are now supporting our message, with the DVLA including reminders about getting an eye test in the photo licence renewal letters it sends out.”


Richard Burnett, CEO at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), one of the CV Show’s three partner organisations, added: “The CV Show is one of the largest transport industry events of its kind and exactly the right audience for Vision Express to reach out to –professional drivers and motoring enthusiasts, plus hauliers, operators and manufacturers – with the crucial message about the importance of regular eye tests.


“For many visitors driving is an integral part of daily life and for some it’s their livelihood. It’s staggering that Vision Express found that almost a fifth of visitors to the Vision had never had their eyes tested, so we know there’s still a very important job to be done to make the UK’s roads safer.”


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