If you are 60 or older, driving a car may be increasingly difficult. Age-related vision changes and eye diseases can negatively affect your driving abilities, even before you are aware of symptoms. Some age-related vision changes that commonly affect seniors’ driving, according to the American Optometric Asssociation, are:
- Not being able to see road signs as clearly
- Difficulty seeing objects up close, like the car instrument panel or road maps
- Difficulty judging distances and speed
- Changes in color perception
- Problems seeing in low light or at night
- Difficulty adapting to bright sunlight or glare from headlights
- Experiencing a loss of side vision
These tips can help you stay safe when driving, especially at night:
- Use extra caution at intersections. Many collisions involving older drivers occur at intersections due to a failure to yield, especially when taking a left turn. Look carefully in both directions before proceeding into an intersection. Turn your head frequently when driving to compensate for any decreased peripheral vision.
- Reduce your speed and limit yourself to daytime driving. If you are having trouble seeing at night or your eyes have difficulty recovering from the glare of oncoming headlights, slow down and avoid driving at night.
- Avoid wearing eyeglasses and sunglasses with wide frames or temples. Glasses with wide temples (side arms) may restrict your side vision.
- Take a driving course for seniors. Participate in a program for older drivers in your community, such as those offered by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). This can help you learn how to compensate for the physical changes that may affect your driving ability.
- Have an annual eye examination. Yearly eye exams can ensure your eyeglass or contact lens prescription is up to date. It can also ensure early detection and treatment of any developing eye health problem.
Courtesy American Optometric Association