You probably already know that as you grow older, your vision may change and become less clear. If you're having trouble seeing clearly while driving, you may be a hazard to yourself and people around you. You might be surprised to know that your eyes may be experiencing age-related problems that a new vision prescription alone can't fix. Here are some lesser-known age-related vision problems and some ideas on how to reduce them.
Glare, Lighting, and Contrast
As you become older, your vision prescription may need to be strengthened, you might need bifocals, and you may develop cataracts. Beyond these three common problems, however, you may also experience several problems that can drastically affect your ability to drive:
Sensitivity to Glare - As you age, you may find that it's more difficult to see clearly when light is reflected or pointed directly at your eyes. Unfortunately, this can make it harder to drive during bright daylight and at night when other drivers use their headlights.
Increased Need for Lighting - It becomes more difficult to see clearly in dim lighting as you age. Some adults may need three to four times more lighting to see clearly than they did when they were younger. This can potentially make it harder to see objects and people on the road.
Difficulty With Contrast - Older eyes may struggle to recognize objects that are similar in color to each other. For example, someone wearing dark clothing while walking across the road may be difficult to discern.
While these problems can potentially make it difficult or dangerous for you to drive, there are some ways to mitigate these problems.
Seeing your optometrist regularly and keeping your vision prescription up-to-date is important. However, optometrists can also help you by ordering special lenses for your glasses that can help to prevent some of these problems.
Special coatings can be placed on your lenses to reduce glare, and optometrists can choose a pair of sunglasses for you that don't distort your perception of color or contrast.
While vitamins and supplements aren't a cure for eye problems, in some cases, proper nutrition can slow or even reverse vision problems. Nutritional supplements like lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3s may protect your eyes and your vision.
Avoiding Eye Strain
If you struggle to see small text, have trouble using computers, or notice that you develop headaches after reading, you may be experiencing eye strain. Eye strain can potentially worsen the aforementioned symptoms, so avoiding eye strain before you ever hit the road can help you to see better while driving.
To avoid eye strain, take frequent vision breaks, make sure that you wear glasses with a current prescription, and use bifocals if you need them. In addition, make use of the 20-20-20 rule when you're not driving: rest your eyes every 20 minutes by focusing on an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
Many changes in vision come naturally as you age, but these changes don't have to drastically alter your life. By working together with an optometrist and implementing these tips, you can keep your eyes healthy and drive safely during the day and night. Contact a company like Linden Optometry PC for more information.