Is Your Eyesight Affecting Your Driving?

The Vision Council has found that many older Americans ignore the need for eye exams. Nearly half of today’s seniors have never had a dilated eye exam. Worse, vision screening requirements for elderly drivers are lax in many states.

Following these steps can help you maintain healthy eyes and clear vision, along with a good driving record:

  1. Have your eyes examined annually. The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams for anyone over age 60. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can make sure your eyes don’t show any serious age-related changes such as macular degeneration.

    Also, with certain common eye conditions such as presbyopia, your eyeglasses prescription may need more frequent changes to help you maintain optimum eyesight.

  2. Consider wearing special eyeglasses.Anti-reflective coatings can cut down on glare. Also, lenses developed with wavefront diagnostic technology may be able to reduce halos, starbursts, glare and other problems caused by eye aberrations.
  3. Reduce your speed when driving at night. As we get older, our pupils get smaller and don’t dilate as quickly in the dark. Because of this and other normal age-related changes in the eye, only about one-third as much ambient light reaches your retinas in your 60s, compared with when you were in your 20s.

    This loss of light transmittance significantly reduces night vision, which is why you should reduce your driving speed at night to compensate.

  4. Seek the best care for age-related disease. If you have cataracts, for example, implantation of an aspheric intraocular lens during your cataract surgery may provide sharper vision and better contrast sensitivity than a traditional, spherical intraocular lens.

    If you have diabetes, get your eyes examined at least once yearly and closely follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your diet, medications and lifestyle to reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause severe vision loss without warning.

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