cataracts, cataract driving problems, cataract vision problems
Cataracts & Driving

By Francis D'Ambrosio, Jr., M.D.

About Eye Cataracts, Driving & Vision Problems
Driving isn’t just about getting from one place to another. For most people, driving represents freedom, control and an independent mobile lifestyle. Driving enables most people to get to the places they want to go and to see the people they want to see when they want. Safe driving is a complex skill that requires a fairly good level of vision. Our ability to drive safely can be challenged by changes in our physical, emotional and mental condition along with decreased vision. Having a cataract can make it harder for you to see the road, street signs, other cars, and people walking because a cataract clouds the eye’s crystalline lens. Driving with cataracts can be a challenge because cataracts can make objects look blurry and make them even more difficult to see in dim or excessively bright light. Often, with cataracts, the glare from car headlights is more intense, colors look faded, double vision or shadowy vision might occur and night vision is often considerably worse with car tail lights being particularly troublesome.

Cataracts, Driving & Night Vision
Even if you have good “normal” vision, for many people-especially seniors, night driving poses a greater challenge than driving in daylight. This concern is even greater for people with a cataract as cataracts can make night driving quite stressful-and possibly unsafe. Night vision problems are not unusual even for people who do not have cataracts. Research has demonstrated that in dim lighting, and especially at night, we lose the ability to accurately maintain our focus. This may be due to the fact that under dim or dark lighting conditions, the pupil of our eyes dilates and becomes larger causing a decrease in our "depth of focus". This phenomenon occurs regardless of age but may be more significant as we get older, and especially for those who have cataracts, as they often experience night driving problems. In addition, cataracts can cause a hazing of vision as well as a scattering of light that can create glare sensitivity and even halos around lights. These types of visual disturbances may be even more noticeable for night driving. This is troubling as the ability to see well in low contrast situations, such as night driving, is critical in seeing lane markers, curbs, barriers and objects in the road. Cataracts reduce your ability to see in low contrast. This is why driving with cataracts can be difficult and why night driving problems with cataracts are especially troubling for some patients.

If you think that you may be developing a cataract or have been told that you have cataracts, please discuss any difficulty that you might be experiencing with night vision problems and night driving problems with your eye doctor at D'Ambrosio Eye Care. Please share your concerns with us so that we can most effectively help you determine the best time to have cataract surgery and the type of lens implants so as to maintain your lifestyle and avoid any undue safety issues while driving.

If you, a family member or friend, would like to learn more about cataracts, driving, night vision and night vision problems, or to schedule a cataract eye exam, please call D'Ambrosio Eye Care at 800-325-3937 to schedule an appointment.