Magazine article USA TODAY

Tips for Older Drivers with Vision Problems. (Aging)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Tips for Older Drivers with Vision Problems. (Aging)

Article excerpt

The ability to drive and get around independently is essential for millions of Americans. While driving safely is a key concern of anyone traveling in a car, changes in the aging eye make it especially vital for older people. Everyone experiences at least some vision changes due to normal aging, including difficulty focusing on near tasks like reading, trouble distinguishing colors and contrast, and the need for more light to read small print. Moreover, as people are living longer, increasing numbers are affected by more-severe vision problems due to conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Kent Higgins, Vice President for Vision Science, Lighthouse International, advises all older persons to have regular checkups to maintain eye health and to ensure that their ability to drive safely is not compromised by undetected vision loss. The Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute of Lighthouse International offers the following tips for older drivers:

* If you are 60 years of age or over, know that you are driving with only about one-third of the light you had when you were 20 years old, due to changes occurring within the eye.

* Keep in mind that you cannot process and respond to visual information as quickly and efficiently as you could when you were younger.

* Be aware that driving under the influence of some medications can dramatically diminish the ability to react to unexpected road hazards. Ask your doctor about the medications you are taking.

* Nighttime driving typically involves exposure to bright, fleeting glare that presents a particular challenge to older drivers. …

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