As you approach your 40’s, you may begin to notice changes in your vision. You may find that far away objects are blurry or that you need to take off your glasses when you read. Your eye doctor may even suggest bifocals.
These changes in vision are common and are a part of the natural process of aging. But, the changes in your eye can also affect your night vision, making it harder to drive at night. You may not want to admit that your eyes are getting older, but ignoring these changes can increase your risk of a night driving accident.
Changes in the Pupils
The pupil is the black part of the eye that gets bigger and smaller in response to changes in light. The pupil is controlled by a set of tiny muscles in the iris, or colored part of the eye. As we age, these muscles become weaker and less responsive. This means that it takes longer for the eye to adjust to changes in lighting and less light is let in—making it difficult to see in the dark.
Changes in the Lens
The lens is the transparent and flexible layer of the eye that focuses light onto the retina. When we are young, our lens is able to change shape so we can see both near objects and objects in the distance. When we age, the lens begins to stiffen. It becomes more difficult to shift from close up vision to distance vision. Bifocals are designed to accommodate for this change.
The lens also becomes less transparent, so less light can pass through. This makes it harder to see at night. A cataract occurs when part of the lens becomes opaque. Cataract warning signs include blurry vision, trouble with glare, and decreased night vision.
Changes in the Rods
Our retinas contain two types of cells: cones and rods. Cones help us see when there is a lot of light. They provide detail, color and contrast. We use rods in low light situations. They create black and white images. As we age, the number of cones in the eye decreases so our night vision is not as sharp.
Older adults are more likely to suffer from an eye disease. Nearly one-third of adults over age 40 have an eye condition such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or cataracts.
An annual eye exam can help you identify eye problems before they affect your driving. Let your optometrist know if you’ve experienced any vision problems, especially while driving at night.
The Atlanta car accident attorneys at Kaufman Law help victims of car accidents throughout Georgia. If you are injured in a night driving crash, you need reliable and honest information about your rights.