Seeing is believing
As many people do, I wear glasses to drive. I’m near sighted, which means I can see things clearly when they are close to me. I read, write and eat with my glasses off but in order to see the movie, the TV, play sports or drive I need my glasses on. With the high risk we all face while driving, it’s important to visit my optometrist every couple of years to ensure my eyes are working to their best while driving. When was the last time you got your eyes tested?
Each time we get a licensed driver at Young Drivers of Canada who takes a driver improvement course, we test their eyesight. It’s not an official eye test, but it at least lets them and their employer know how well or poor their eyesight is so they may get their eyes tested professionally. Why take chances while driving that you may miss something?
I get my eyes tested every 2 years. I’ve noticed that my eyes aren’t the same as they used to be. I was speaking to someone recently who was listening to a guest speaker and after a few minutes, realized it wasn’t the regular speaker. They couldn’t see their face clearly from the distance they were sitting from them. It wasn’t that far, but it made them quite concerned about their vision. Luckily, they made an appointment for the following week to have their eyes tested. If they couldn’t recognize someone they have seen before, how would they recognize and read the road signs?
Younger people can have difficulty seeing at night compared to daytime. They may have what’s referred as “Night Myopia”; which is near sightedness just at night. Myopia is caused by the inability of the lens of the eye to focus a distant image on the retina instead; the image is focused in front of the retina, resulting in a blurred, out of focus image reaching the brain. Night Myopia should not be confused with night blindness. Night Myopia is mainly a focusing problem and is almost exclusive to people up to their mid 20’s in age.
I had taught a student years ago from Young Drivers of Canada who was driving quite well for their first five lessons. The next lesson happened to be at night and it was along the freeway and secondary highway. They had trouble responding to the warning signs along the dark roadway. This was a different concern because the were doing so well early on in their lessons. When I explained to their dad at the end of the lesson, they realized they need to get their eyes tested once again, even though they were tested months earlier before school started. It turned out they had Night Myopia and had to wear glasses while driving at night.
Don’t take your eyes for granted. At age 60, you’ll need roughly 3 times more light to be able to see clearly compared to when you were 20 years of age. Therefore, driving at night and driving at night in the rain can become more difficult. Get them checked every two years and perhaps more often if you’re having difficulty seeing clearly, even at night.