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Vision Functions

Your ability to see clearly when driving changes with age. Limited vision is a very common reason many seniors are referred to a vision specialist, drive with restricted driver licenses, or have their driver privilege revoked. Some age-related vision changes that commonly affect seniors are:

  • Not being able to see as clearly as before
  • Having difficulty seeing an object up close
  • Needing more light
  • Noticing changes in color perception
  • Having more difficulty seeing in the dark
  • Being less able to adapt to glare
  • Experiencing a loss of side vision

Effects on driving ability

Age-related vision conditions may cause some of the following effects on your driving ability.

  • Bright sunlight or the headlights of oncoming traffic may impede your vision.
  • It becomes more difficult to judge distances and speed.
  • It becomes more difficult to distinguish road signs and to gauge oncoming traffic.
  • Your eyes get tired easily making it more difficult to concentrate.
  • Left-hand turns becomes difficult.
  • Assessing right-of-way situations may become more difficult.
  • Blurred vision may cause right-of-way problems.

What can I do for safer driving?

  • Get regular eye exams. See your vision specialist at least every two years and more often if your eyes are changing rapidly.
  • 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.
  • Turn your head frequently to compensate for any decreased peripheral vision.
  • Add a larger rearview mirror to increase your field of view.
  • Look ahead of your vehicle while driving so you will see trouble before you reach it. As a rule, in the city, look at least one block ahead, and on the highway, look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle.
  • Avoid wearing eyeglasses and sunglasses with wide frames or temples that may restrict your side vision.
 

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