People who suffer a car crash should not be blinded by the protective glasses they wear to protect their eyes, a leading medical expert has advised.
The Supreme Court has recommended that drivers stop wearing safety glasses if they get hit while driving and a law is currently in effect in the state of Tamil Nadu.
A group of lawyers and scientists has urged the government to introduce the law so that drivers who get hit can get medical help.
“People should not have to take any drastic measures to protect themselves from being injured,” said Dr. J P Nair, chairman of the Institute of Emergency Medicine at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a leading authority on eye health.
“There should be a law so people can get the help they need,” he told NDTV.
The National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and Centre for Eye Health (CEH) have been working on developing a law for two years.
The NIMS and CEH are jointly developing the law.
“I would like to call on the state government to act in a way that it can bring about immediate safety in the minds of the people,” said Nair.
In India, drivers can wear protective glasses that have an adhesive to protect the eyes and can be purchased from car dealers.
“If the glass is worn, the driver can still be blinded.
But if the glass breaks, the person can still get medical attention,” Nair said.
If the driver is hit by another vehicle, the accident will be investigated, but if the driver has to pay a fine, the fine will be covered by insurance, Nair added.
While the law states that drivers can have the protective goggles worn, there are many drivers who do not.
According to the National Institute for Medical Sciences, the number of drivers injured in crashes in India is between 10 and 15 per cent.
According a report published in the Lancet medical journal, there is a gap in the literature on the safety of wearing safety goggles, and the results are mixed.
“The literature on wearing safety devices does not appear to be sufficiently consistent,” said J P Rangaswamy, a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
In a study published in a leading journal, Rangachandra Reddy, a neuroscientist and co-author of the study, said safety goggles might not be effective in preventing eye injuries.
“While the majority of the studies have shown that goggles may protect the eye in certain situations, it is not clear if they can protect the visual system in all circumstances,” she said.
“More research is needed to clarify whether goggles might be beneficial in some situations and harmful in others.”
Reddy and Nair’s study also found that helmets may be an effective way to reduce the risk of injuries to the eyes.
“Helmet use can reduce the severity of eye injury but is not a panacea.
A helmet does not always protect against all injuries,” said Rangathraswamy.
While helmets have been proven to prevent eye injuries, Reddy and her team said the safety goggles that drivers wear in India do not protect against head injuries.
The helmet must be worn at all times, and it must be positioned in a certain way for optimum eye protection,” she added.
The latest study also showed that people with higher levels of glasses and the helmet may be at greater risk of head injuries in crashes.”
In the case of head injury, there might be more chance of an eye injury, but for the rest of the eye it is less likely,” said Reddy.”
We should be careful not to overstate the safety benefits of helmets,” she continued.