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Driving, Your Vision and Aging

DrivingIt’s a fact; eyesight worsens with age. When you’re over 60 and beyond your eyes need more light and more time to adjust when light changes. It can be hard to see especially at dawn, dusk, and night.

Often older eyes are more sensitive to glare from headlights, street lights, or the sun, making it difficult to see people, things, and movements outside your direct line of sight. Peripheral vision can also be affected in older people.  Being unable to see to the side increases the risk of crashes. Also, the field of vision narrows, making it harder to spot an object in heavy traffic.

Age-related Eye and Vision Problems

Eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration become more common as people get older. Many of these eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may develop painlessly and you may not be aware of changes to your vision until the condition is quite advanced.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease affecting the macula, the center of the light sensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing loss of central vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition occurring in people with diabetes. It is the result of progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. They leak blood and other fluids that cause swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision.

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon their size and location, they can interfere with normal vision.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss.

Dry eye is a condition in which there is a lack of  tears or a poor quality of tears to lubricate the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining clear vision.

What you can do…

If you are experiencing any change in your vision or have any of the following issues when driving it is very important to discuss  your eye doctor:

  • Not being able to see road signs clearly
  • Having difficulty seeing objects up close for example the car instrument panel
  • Changes in how you see color
  • Problems seeing in low light or nighttime conditions
  • Difficulty seeing with the light glare from headlights
  • Experiencing a loss of side (peripheral) vision

Getting a comprehensive annual eye exam can help older drivers continue to drive safely—and keep the roads safe for us all. Contact Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region to schedule an appointment at 518-438-5273.