Ocular Disease and Driving

Ocular disease affects more than your eyes – it can affect your quality of life. The term ocular disease is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of diseases that impact vision. These include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. There are also a wide variety of other diseases, however, the aforementioned are the most common.

Macular degeneration | This form of ocular disease affects over 200,000 people in the united states each year. With this disease, the center of the retina deteriorates (dry macular degeneration) or leaky blood vessels grow under the retina (wet macular degeneration). As a result, you lose vision in the center field of vision.

Diabetic retinopathy | Not as common as other ocular diseases, diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels at the back of your eye due to uncontrolled blood sugars. Floaters, blurriness, and areas of dark vision are common symptoms.

Glaucoma | While glaucoma can’t be cured, it’s the results of the nerve that connects the eye to the brain being damaged. Aside from slow vision loss, there aren’t any other symptoms, which is why it’s important to get annual eye exams.

As a person ages they become more vulnerable to these diseases, which impact their vision and ultimately their ability to drive. And while it can be stressful to think about losing the ability to drive, it’s important to understand what ocular disease afflicts you.

These diseases tend to develop slowly so it’s critical to come in for regular eye exams. This allows the doctor to develop a baseline and track progress throughout the years. Additionally, he can connect you with resources to cope with your diagnosis.

Some of the most important things to ask yourself about driving and whether you need to stop driving are:

Can you drive at night?
Do you see glares and reflections while you drive?
Do you have trouble reading street signs?

If you’re among the many baby boomers who now have to broach the conversation of driving with their aging parents, you likely aren’t looking forward to it. In fact, 36% of those surveyed say that discussing driving with their aging parents was more stressful than planning their funeral. Dr. Trapeni can help you understand how to broach this topic with your parents.

To do this, schedule an appointment with Dr. Trapeni. He can properly diagnose you, outline the necessary treatment, and help determine the best course of action to ensure you have the best outcome possible. Give us a call to get your appointment set or get answers to any questions you might have.