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Senior Driving: Ensure That Your Vision Is Safe For The Road

March 1, 2012

Vision tips that will keep you safe on the road during your senior years.

When it comes to your golden years, one of the most difficult challenges that seniors often face is the fact that certain everyday behaviors and activities no longer come as easy as they used to. For instance, tasks that used to be simple, such as walking up the stairs or heading out to the store, can begin to require a large amount of effort and strain, and physical activities become more exhausting than they used to. And, while it can seem frustrating and disappointing for some, these challenges are just one sign that we are growing older.

However, our day-to-day activities are not the only things that begin to change and shift as we enter our senior years. Many of our most important body senses, such as our hearing and our eyesight, also begin to make a shift as we get older and older, often making it challenging to carry out activities that rely heavily on the clarity of these senses.

One particular activity that is known to be difficult for seniors with deteriorating vision is driving.  Especially at night, research has shown that our ability to see moving objects while we ourselves are in motion (such as when we are in a car) begins to fade much sooner than our ability to see stationary objects. Also, as we grow older, our driving skills are even more of a challenge because we often lose our sharp peripheral vision and our reaction time slows.

While it is common for our driving abilities to change as we grow older, our age doesn’t automatically mean we have to stop driving all together. Instead, senior drivers should be sure to pay attention to any warning signs that age may be  interfering with their driving safety, and should make appropriate adjustments to ensure clear vision. Here are just a few ways in which you can keep yourself safer on the roadways in your golden years:

Schedule Annual Eye Examinations

We recommend that anyone over the age of 60 have thorough eye examinations at least once a year, and even more frequently if you have a significant eye condition or visual complaint. These annual vision screenings will ensure that your eyes don’t show any serious age-related changes, such as the appearance of cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It’s also important to make sure that your corrective lens prescription is current each and every year.

Listen To Those Around You

As difficult as it can be hearing what you should and should not do, especially coming after years and years of driving, it is important that you listen to advice of those around you. If relatives, friends or others begin to question your eyes or your driving, it may be time to take a honest look at your abilities. Or, if you find that you are having minor difficulties, limit yourself to short trips out during daylight, and when weather conditions are favorable.

Be Aware Of Age-Related Disease

As we grow older, our eyes and our vision becomes much more susceptible to age-related vision problems, such as AMD and cataracts. And, if these conditions are not addressed right away, it can lead to permanent loss of vision down the road. If you are a candidate for cataract surgery, ask your surgeon about replacing your clouded natural lenses with an aspheric intraocular lens. These artificial lenses are engineered to provide better contrast sensitivity and crisper vision than would be possible with the implantation of traditional, spherical intraocular lenses.

For more information about the many effects of age-related vision, or to learn more about the benefits of cataract surgery, be sure to contact OCLI today for your free vision consultation.


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