Should Dominic Cummings have been driving with vision problems? Latest AA guidelines

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Meanwhile, experts have voiced doubts about whether coronavirus can be linked to eyesight problems in any case. Mr Cummings, who is at the centre of a row over his decision to travel 260 miles from London to Durham in the midst of the lockdown, set out his reasons during a statement at Downing Street yesterday.

Bad eyesight and driving is a potentially dangerous combination

AA guidelines

Specifically, he sought to justify a 30-mile trip to Barnard Castle by explaining it had been a bid to test out whether he was capable of driving before undertaking the longer journey back to London, having complained to his wife that his vision was “weird”.

Express.co.uk approached AA to ask for their guidelines with respect to driving and eyesight, and was referred to advice carried on their website.

This states: “Bad eyesight and driving is a potentially dangerous combination.

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“In 2016, uncorrected or defective eyesight contributed to more than 250 people suffering injuries on UK road.

“So taking care of your vision with regular eyesight tests is an important part of keeping yourself, and others, safe on the roads.”

Risks include the danger of not spotting hazards in the road, as well as reduced reaction time.

The minimum standard for drivers requires them to be able to read a standard number plate licence from 20 metres away.

After Mr Cummings mentioned problems with his vision, he was backed up by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told yesterday’s coronavirus briefing he too had suffered problems with his vision after contracting coronavirus.

Producing a pair of spectacles, he said: “I’m finding I have to wear spectacles for the first time in years, I think because of the effects of this thing.

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“So I’m inclined to think that’s very, very plausible, that eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus.”

However, Moorfields Eye Hospital said on Tuesday there was little evidence at the moment of a link.

A statement said: “At present, there is very little evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can affect eyesight.

“Cases where COVID-19 is recorded alongside an impact on eyesight are rare, so we cannot establish a direct causal effect.

“We need more data to be collected on COVID-19-related eye conditions to see if there is an association.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists similar said it was unable to report on the link “due to a lack of evidence”, adding: “A direct causal effect can only be established through the reporting of proven cases of COVID-19 patients and their symptoms.”

However, Robert MacLaren, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, suggested Mr Cummings had a point.

He said: “It was reported in approximately one-third of patients in Wuhan in a recent study.

“The ocular manifestations in the Wuhan patients included conjunctivitis, conjunctival hyperemia (red eye), chemosis (eye swelling), epiphora (watery eye) and increased secretions (sticky eye).

“Any of the above symptoms may affect vision and affected patients would be advised to drive with caution or not at all if there was significant blurring of vision or double vision.”

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