Driver eyesight

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Yellowcupra

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Hi everyone

I'm after a bit of information.
I have my MMI coming up shortly for Southern hopefully followed by my medical.
After looking up the minimum visual acuity of 6/30 for uncorrected eyes I fear I'm not at that standard. I appreciate the need for strict rules regarding driver health but will this really hold me back? With my glasses or contact lenses my eyesight is just as good as anybodies.
You jump through so many hoops to get this far, to fail because without my glasses I can't see seems unfair. (Thats why I wear them!) Who would drive a train without their glasses if they need them to see?
Is it a straight fail or is it a bit more discretionary?

Thanks for any help you can give. Cheers.
 
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Cherry_Picker

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Loads of train drivers wear glasses. I think different companies have different policies but where I work you are fine to drive if your eyesight is good in glasses, the only stipulation is you need to keep a pair of glasses with your current prescription at work just in case the ones you wear normally get lost or damaged.
 

Flying_Turtle

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Everything regarding the medical specs of drivers is regulated by the 2007/59/EC. I Believe they are quite generous regarding the corrected eyesight.
Obviously, company policies may be different.
 

GMIDX

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Had a medical with Southern earlier this year, and have since started training with them. I was also concerned about this, and prior to the interview visited my optician to ensure that I had glasses that were sufficient. Took them along to the medical and was tested both with and without glasses. As it turned out, I made the grade without the glasses, but I would not worry... If you need the glasses to meet the standard, then you will just be marked as having to carry and use them when carrying out your duties. If you do not struggle on a day to day basis, you will be fine.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Just to add that Railway Group Standards include an absolute minimum standard for uncorrected vision. If you don't meet that standard you can't carry out specific safety critical roles. In practice the standard isn't particularly high, certainly not enough to be sure of full capability without glasses, but it does exist. A while back I know a member of traincrew had to give up their position due to their eyesight having deteriorated to below the standard. It's an unusual occurrence however.
 

Yellowcupra

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Thank you for the replies.
I really don't understand the need for the minimum distance requirement. The RSSB quote:

Where vision is corrected with glasses, unaided visual acuity cannot be worse than 3/60 in either eye. This is because of concerns about high degrees of myopia (short-sightedness) where the necessary corrective lenses are of high power and may produce distortion of peripheral visual fields or double vision due to prismatic effects.

I wear contact lenses too. Have done for over 25 years. So the peripheral vision wouldn't be a problem for me either. The type of glasses I choose and I imagine the TOC would insist upon only allow me to look over the top of my glasses, which I don't do anyway if I'm looking at something.
Does anyone know who and where Southern conduct their medicals?
I am very concerned as anybody who really wants and has ever applied for a driving job can understand, to get this far and fail at a hurdle where they have no control over and pose no more danger than anyone else.
Thanks again.
 

GMIDX

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The medical will be at Go Ahead House in Croydon. All of the replies here are useful, and whilst every case is different, chances are you will be fine.

Whichever way you look at it, you cannot change anything, and if you fail at the final hurdle then its out of your control - but it's not worth getting worked up about it now. Relax and concentrate on your MMI.

Finally, there are another couple of guys i know who are training and wearing glasses. One of which struggles to see much without his specs, but is fine with them on.

Good luck
 

Stigy

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Judging by the standard set for uncorrected vision for drivers, you'd have to be nye on blind to not meet the rail industry standard. I wear glasses and this has always been a worry of mine. I failed the to meet Fire Service eyesight requirements a while ago (even though my optician said they were acceptable...). The standard for train drivers I believe, relates to both eyes together, where a lot of other jobs (the Fire and Rescue Service for example) relate to individual eyes, plus a figure when measured together. This was my downside as my left eye is quite a bit weaker than my right eye.

It's impossible to say for sure how an individual will do, because eyesight it such a vast area. A lot of people wear glasses because their sight is only just below par, or not for distance vision (the main aspect and important area for train driver eyesight not related to colour is distance vision I'd imagine, which is what's being measured), whereas others (me included) wouldn't be able to function without their specs and need them for distance vision.
 
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A-driver

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I believe the 3/60 standard is outdated as the new EU rules on train driver medical fitness are stricter. Not entirely sure what the new standards are but I believe it's stricter than 3/60 uncorrected and now stricter than the 6/9 & 6/12 corrected.
 

Raul_Duke

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3/60 is 6/120 which is essentially the big 'E' on a snellen chart (The biggest letter), so you have to be quite myopic not to see that.

The concern would be that spectacle correction for high myopes does produce a lot of distortion in the edge of the lenses, the further you go from the optical centre of the lens.

I believe that's why the standards state a lower level of hypermetropia/long sightedness is permitted, as that will give more distortion and magnification issues.

Much as you wear contact lenses, what if you get conjunctivitis or an ulcer? Then you're back in your specs with all the issues.

The legal limit for driving a car is around 6/10 6/12 monocularly (corrected) so train driving isn't as stringent as some other industries.
 

ComUtoR

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The big "E" is not the standard you need to read. I was shown the line you need to reach once as I was reading a few under it and started to struggle. She went "no problem, the railway standard is.... " and pointed to the line.
 

Raul_Duke

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The big "E" is not the standard you need to read. I was shown the line you need to reach once as I was reading a few under it and started to struggle. She went "no problem, the railway standard is.... " and pointed to the line.

It may not be the standard you need to read, but 6/120 is the single letter at the top of the chart.
 

A-driver

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It may not be the standard you need to read, but 6/120 is the single letter at the top of the chart.


As I say, 3/60 is the old domestic standard. The new EU standard is stricter but can't remember what it is.
 

ComUtoR

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3/60 is 6/120 which is essentially the big 'E' on a snellen chart (The biggest letter), so you have to be quite myopic not to see that.

Information I'm reading states that the top letter is 6/60
 

Raul_Duke

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Information I'm reading states that the top letter is 6/60

Possibly on a old style printed chart. You don't see as many of those anymore.

On a more modern protected chart you can go higher/bigger.


Nowadays many places use LogMAR charts which don't have single letters in lines and the result is expressed as a decimal. But that's irrelevant to the original question.
 

Flying_Turtle

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Listen to me carefull... I shall only repeat this once:

Search for the 2007/59/EC and associated legislation on the europa.eu site

Everything regarding the medical specs of drivers is regulated by the 2007/59/EC. I Believe they are quite generous regarding the corrected eyesight.
Obviously, company policies may be different.
 

Yellowcupra

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Thank you for all the replies. It's looking more and more like laser eye surgery or implanted contact lenses are my only option.
 

A-driver

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Listen to me carefull... I shall only repeat this once:



Search for the 2007/59/EC and associated legislation on the europa.eu site


Reading tht document is one thing but understanding it is another-which is where most people's questions are coming from. Most are not trained opticians and so knowing what the standards are in terms of reading a chart is what people seem to be asking.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Thank you for all the replies. It's looking more and more like laser eye surgery or implanted contact lenses are my only option.

If you are seriously considering these options then think long and hard. For most people the benefits of laser eye surgery "wear" off at some point, typically in the range of 10 to 15 years but also dependent on the age when the original surgery took place. And repeat treatment is not normally an option if you started off quite short-sighted in the first place. As for the lens implants this involves invasive surgery and as such carries a degree of risk. It also has the permanent downside of severely limiting your ability to see things close up without glasses anyway, worth bearing in mind how this might be important in old age. In short speak to an expert, preferably two, before making any decision and remember that the commercial optical surgery services are just that, commercial organisations looking to make a profit. If you asked your GP for a referral just for the purpose of getting a job they'd turn you down. It may just be the case, sadly, that a safety critical job on the railway is beyond your medical capability as judged by the standards however harsh that may seem. Good Luck!
 

Yellowcupra

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If you are seriously considering these options then think long and hard. For most people the benefits of laser eye surgery "wear" off at some point, typically in the range of 10 to 15 years but also dependent on the age when the original surgery took place. And repeat treatment is not normally an option if you started off quite short-sighted in the first place. As for the lens implants this involves invasive surgery and as such carries a degree of risk. It also has the permanent downside of severely limiting your ability to see things close up without glasses anyway, worth bearing in mind how this might be important in old age. In short speak to an expert, preferably two, before making any decision and remember that the commercial optical surgery services are just that, commercial organisations looking to make a profit. If you asked your GP for a referral just for the purpose of getting a job they'd turn you down. It may just be the case, sadly, that a safety critical job on the railway is beyond your medical capability as judged by the standards however harsh that may seem. Good Luck!


Thank you for your advice.
I have consulted two surgeons who carry out both ICL and laser surgery. One a high street brand and the other a private surgeon.
My short sightedness is -8.00 in my worst eye and I have an astigmatism, so my vision is very poor. ICL is a reversible treatment and changeable if my prescription changed. Laser surgery is possible, but due to the thickness of my corneas and how much would need to be removed in order to give me 20/20 carries a risk that any future adjustments wouldn't be easy. The option to just improve rather than cure is there too.
But seeing as I've lived most my life at -8.00 even if in 15 years time it regressed back a bit, (typical regression if any is -0.54) wearing glasses to improve such a tiny bit of short sightedness wouldn't be a problem to me and I would still be able to comfortably read the Snellen chart to the required railway standards.
 
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Raul_Duke

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Thank you for your advice.
I have consulted two surgeons who carry out both ICL and laser surgery. One a high street brand and the other a private surgeon.
My short sightedness is -8.00 in my worst eye and I have an astigmatism, so my vision is very poor. ICL is a reversible treatment and changeable if my prescription changed. Laser surgery is possible, but due to the thickness of my corneas and how much would need to be removed in order to give me 20/20 carries a risk that any future adjustments wouldn't be easy. The option to just improve rather than cure is there too.
But seeing as I've lived most my life at -8.00 even if in 15 years time it regressed back a bit, (typical regression if any is -0.54) wearing glasses to improve such a tiny bit of short sightedness wouldn't be a problem to me and I would still be able to comfortably read the Snellen chart to the required railway standards.

Consider it very carefully. -8.00DS corrected myopia is still permitted according to those updated standards.

If you look at 2(m) of the visual standards, "ability to withstand dazzle," that would possibly be a concern after laser surgery.

Do you know what your corrected and uncorrected VA's currently are?
 

Yellowcupra

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Consider it very carefully. -8.00DS corrected myopia is still permitted according to those updated standards.

If you look at 2(m) of the visual standards, "ability to withstand dazzle," that would possibly be a concern after laser surgery.

Do you know what your corrected and uncorrected VA's currently are?

I don't know what my VA's are uncorrected because I can't even read the biggest letter on a Snellen from 3 metres. Corrected I can read the 20/20 line and even most of the line lower.
I am going on 2nd of June to meet a guy called Sheraz Daya, he is pretty respected in Ophthalmology circles. Hoping he can give me some options. He knows why I want corrected vision and says he is certain he can do something for me. I'll print off and take all the visual standards for train drivers with me and hope he can help.
 

saracen

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I don't know what my VA's are uncorrected because I can't even read the biggest letter on a Snellen from 3 metres. Corrected I can read the 20/20 line and even most of the line lower.
I am going on 2nd of June to meet a guy called Sheraz Daya, he is pretty respected in Ophthalmology circles. Hoping he can give me some options. He knows why I want corrected vision and says he is certain he can do something for me. I'll print off and take all the visual standards for train drivers with me and hope he can help.

Sheraz Daya is the best Ophthalmologist in the UK, you're in safe hands.
 
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