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Driving with Good Vision

Excellent vision is required for safe driving.  Safety on the road needs a combination of a number of different form of vision including being able to see far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, full side or peripheral vision, seeing well at night and normal color vision..

Good distance vision is vital because you need to scan the road ahead and spot any risks that might be present, giving you more time to act quickly and avoid accidents.

Distance vision is also directly related to the condition of your glasses and windshield, so ensure both are very clean and scratch-free, since scratches can inhibit your sight, especially when it's dark or sunny.  Clean your windshield often, including the inside surface, which gets hazy over time.  Products like Rain-X are available to treat your windshield to repel rain, making them much more clear on our frequent rainy night time drives.  Many patients with early cataract complain of the glare of oncoming headlights.  Checking for cataracts is an important part of a yearly eye exam.  The high quality anti-reflection treatments on glasses we have available can significantly reduce glare.

You also need peripheral vision, which allows you to see the sides of your car, and other cars, animals and pedestrians without needing to look away from the road ahead.  Being able to see peripherally is also important when you're changing lanes and making turns.  Maximize use of your side and rearview mirrors.  Make sure they’re adjusted correctly .A common eye disease among people in their 50’s and older is glaucoma.  It is known as the silent thief of sight, because it causes peripheral vision loss so gradual that a person is not aware of the loss until very late in the disease, when central vision is affected.  Get your eyes examined every year to catch this potentially blinding disease before vision is lost.  Glaucoma can be detected long before any vision is lost and treated, usually simply with eye drops to halt it in its tracks.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety.  It helps you measure distances properly in crowded driving conditions, change lanes and pass other cars.  Accurate depth perception calls for adequate functioning in both eyes working as a team.  If you feel your depth perception is poor, it's essential to consult with your optometrist to see if it is safe for you to drive and determine the reason for the problem.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate instantly also plays an important role when driving, for example shifting your focus from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer.  If you're over the age of 40you may have a challenge with near vision. Multifocal glasses are designed to allow good vision at near, intermediate and distance. Make an appointment with the doctors at Duvall Advanced Family EyeCare to talk about your best options.

Good color vision also comes into play on the road.  Those in the driver's seat must be able to quickly see traffic lights, road signs and hazard lights.  For those with a color vision defect, response time could be a little slower. Most color deficiency is present from birth and people learn to adapt to seeing the world differently.  A sudden change in color perception may be the sign of an eye or neurologic problem requiring an eye exam to rule out serious disease.

Often the first indication of the need for a new glasses prescription is difficulty seeing road signs when driving during the day or feeling insecure driving at night.   It’s scary enough having our teens out on the road for the first time on their own.  All new drivers should have a thorough eye exam.  Help make the roads safer for all of us schedule your yearly eye exam.


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