Older Drivers and Night Vision – What You should Know

Aging is an exciting and mysterious process full of change. Your eyesight is just one of the many physical aspects that transforms with age, especially where your night vision is concerned. Understanding the effects of aging on your night vision can help you make safer driving decisions.

Cataracts

As you age your eyes can develop cataracts, which is a clouding of the lens. Cataracts dim your vision, especially in the dark. A patient with cataracts may feel like they are wearing sunglasses even during the day, and this effect is even worse at night. Cataracts can also cause a halo or glare around objects, making night driving quite dangerous. Your eye care professional can spot the early signs of cataracts during your annual eye exam, and develop a treatment plan that will fit your lifestyle.

Macular Degeneration

In Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), deposits can build up in the macula, the part of your retina responsible for the center part of your vision. The retina can become detached here, which  results in a missing spot in the central part of your vision. This can occur so gradually that you don’t notice your sight diminishing until the loss is advanced. This is another strong case for a yearly eye exam.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition where rising eye pressure damages the optic nerve. Since this occurs without pain or noticeable symptoms in its early stages, it can result in permanent blindness or very serious vision loss before the patient is aware of what is happening. A routine eye exam is your best chance in preventing the progression of glaucoma, especially for older Diabetic patients.

Natural Age-Related Eye Changes

The normal course of aging causes your pupils to shrink. The narrowed pupils allow less light to enter the eye and the patient again feels like they wearing sunglasses. Near or farsightedness may continue to get worse as you age, and you’ll find that you cannot as easily adapt to transitions from light to dark. Shadowy areas can nearly become blind spots as the eye cannot quickly adjust to low light, creating dangerous circumstances for night driving.

The best strategy to maintain excellent eye health as you age is to have a yearly eye exam. Your eye doctor will give you suggestions for safe night driving, plus can identify potential problems early on, helping you to retain your vision for many more years.

 

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