Eye Issues For Every Age Recap

Vision is something we take for granted, but when we start to have trouble seeing it is easy to panic. This blog has covered a variety of eye issues for every age, from children through older adults. Here are a few articles from leading doctors and specialists that you may have missed and might be of interest.
Artistic eye 6
Bill Takeshita, OD, FAAO – Visual Aids and Techniques When Traveling

Michelle Moore, CHHC – The Best Nutrition for Older Adults

Arthur B. Epstein, OD, FAAO – Understanding and Treating Corneal Scratches and Abrasions

The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) – Low Vision Awareness
Maintaining Healthy Vision

Sandra Young, OD – GMO and the Nutritional Content of Food

S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO – Selecting Your Best Vision Correction Options

Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA – It’s All About ME – What to Know About Macular Edema

Jun Lin, MD, PhD and James Tsai, MD, MBA – The Optic Nerve And Its Visual Link To The Brain

Ronald N. Gaster, MD FACS – Do You Have a Pterygium?

Anthony B. Nesburn, MD, FACS – Three Generations of Saving Vision

Chantal Boisvert, OD, MD – Vision and Special Needs Children

Judith Delgado – Driving and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

David L. Kading OD, FAAO and Charissa Young – Itchy Eyes? It Must Be Allergy Season

Lauren Hauptman – Traveling With Low Or No Vision  /  Must Love Dogs, Traveling with Guide Dogs  /  Coping With Retinitis Pigmentosa

Kate Steit – Living Well With Low Vision Online Courses

Bezalel Schendowich, OD – What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

In addition here are few other topics you might find of interest, including some infographics and delicious recipes.

Pupils Respond to More Than Light

Watery, Red, Itchy Eyes

10 Tips for Healthy Eyes (infographic)

The Need For Medical Research Funding

Protective Eyewear for Home, Garden & Sports

7 Spring Fruits and Vegetables (with some great recipes)

6 Ways Women Can Stop Vision Loss

6 Signs of Eye Disease (infographic)

Do I Need Vision Insurance?

How to Help a Blind or Visually Impaired Person with Mobility

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam (infographic)

Famous People with Vision Loss – Part I

Famous People with Vision Loss – Part II

Development of Eyeglasses Timeline (infographic)

What eye topics do you want to learn about? Please let us know in the comments section below.


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Driving With Vision Loss

Challenges Faced by Individuals Driving With Vision Loss

People of all ages often view driving as the key to independence. Individuals with vision loss are no exception. Three groups of people with vision loss who wish to acquire or maintain the privilege of driving include teenagers with a congenital or acquired visual impairment who have never driven, adults with the same who have never driven, and adults with an acquired visual impairment who have driven in the past but may lose their license because of their vision loss. driving with vision lossHowever, vision standards for driving vary from state to state, and this variation persists despite decades of research demonstrating that there is no absolute cutoff criteria in visual acuity or peripheral vision for safe versus unsafe driving. The fact that states have variable standards results in people with visual impairments not being able to be licensed in some states, including perhaps their own, while being able to be licensed in a neighboring state. Clearly, the ability of these individuals to safely operate a motor vehicle does not change when they cross a state line. Yet, to maintain at least some driving privileges, they may find themselves having to move to a different state.

It is well known that many older drivers modify their driving norms to help keep themselves and others safe. For example, many older drivers voluntarily reduce or stop driving at night, in hazardous weather conditions, or on super highways. By limiting their driving, older drivers, particularly those with visual impairments, are able to continue operating their automobiles safely and efficiently in spite of reduced vision. This is important, considering the vast majority of older adults live in the suburbs or in rural areas where automobiles are required for transportation.

Maximizing Visual Capabilities
It is important for all individuals, but particularly for drivers who are visually impaired, to make sure their spectacle correction is up-to-date. Contrast enhancement and glare control with filtering lenses can also be of great benefit. Most drivers have experienced driving into the glare of the sun, while looking through a dirty windshield. Although wearing sunglasses and keeping windshields clean is not mandatory, they certainly help drivers see more easily and feel more comfortable when driving.

Maximizing Visual Attention
Human factors research has found that inattention blindness and the cost of switching contribute to or directly cause automobile mishaps. Inattention blindness refers to when a person’s attention to one activity undermines his or her attention to other activities. For example, when drivers focus on directional signs, their attention is not on what is happening on the road in front of them. The cost of switching refers to the time it takes a person to switch attention between different activities. A common example that causes driving mishaps is when drivers text while driving. When people focus on texting while driving, their response to the traffic around them is delayed.

Useful Field of View testing research has shown that the time it takes a person to process visual information, especially the complicated visual environment experienced each time a person drives, increases with age. With this in mind, decreasing or eliminating the time it takes older drivers or drivers with visual impairments to look for and visually process signage should help them maintain their concentration on the road ahead and the traffic around them.

A simple way to reduce or eliminate the need to look for directional signage is with the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) device that uses spoken directions. Older drivers and drivers with visual impairments in particular should consider using a GPS device with spoken directions so that they are freed from the distraction of looking for/at road signs and can keep their attention on the traffic around them.

Finally, with the technology, such as adaptive cruise control and lane alert warnings, currently available in cars, it is expected that all drivers will be safer behind the wheel.

Final Considerations
A good driver is someone who has the ability to perceive change in a rapidly changing environment; the mental ability to judge and react to this information quickly and appropriately; and the motor ability to execute these decisions, along with the compensatory skills to compensate for some loss of ability in the other areas. Additionally, a driver’s familiarity with the driving environment and his or her past driving record should be taken into account when considering limiting driving activities or retiring from driving altogether.

For many drivers with vision loss, a limited driver’s license that allows them to drive during daylight hours, within a restricted radius of their home, and at lower rates of speed may be all they desire. However, there are times when an individual will need to retire from driving altogether because of vision loss or a combination of vision and cognitive changes. When this time comes, the individual needs to understand that retiring from driving is for his or her safety and the safety of others.

Finally, it is well known that vision loss in general, as well as the loss of driving privileges, can lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Fortunately, there are many things that can enhance the functional abilities of individuals with vision loss. To learn about available resources for individuals with vision loss, visit the National Eye Health Education Program low vision program page at www.nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/lowvision.


Dr. Wilkinson - driving with vision lossMark Wilkinson, OD
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Chair of the National Eye Health Education Program Low Vision Subcommittee

Driving and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Driving and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The issue of driving and age-related macular degeneration is a particularly sensitive one for seniors losing their vision. Driving means independence and most people want to hold on to their cars as long as possible. When is it time to stop?
Driving and Age-related Macular Degeneration
A research survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Age-Lab and The Hartford Financial Services Group involved 3,824 drivers over age 50, asking them how and why they limited their driving.

The study found that two-thirds of the drivers self-regulated their activities in the car, restricting their driving for certain condition. Time of day was a common factor, with some people choosing to stay home at night or dusk. Bad weather conditions and heavy traffic were other conditions. Over time, drivers developed conscious strategies to compensate for failing vision, slower reflexes and stiffer joints.

Statistically, older drivers are actually very safe drivers, although over age 75, the accident rate per mile increases. The study found that health and medical conditions contributed far more to driving restrictions than age alone.

About ten percent of the nation’s drivers are over 65. However, by 2030, when one in five Americans are over age 65, this percentage will skyrocket. Consider that 23-40% of people over age 65 have macular degeneration – that ís a lot of drivers with a potential visual impairment.

Making the Decision

If your macular degeneration is causing a problem when you drive, you are most likely aware of it. Or, perhaps a friend or family member has pointed it out to you. Does this mean you should immediately stop driving? Not necessarily.

What you should do immediately is ask yourself some critical questions. How are you functioning when you drive during the day? What about dusk, dawn and cloudy days? Bright sunlight? At night?

Here are six important questions:

  1. Do you have difficulties reading clearly and rapidly all the instruments on a carís dashboard?
  2. Do you have difficulties reading road signs, or if you are currently driving, do you notice and understand the signs in time to react to them with comfort?
  3. Do other cars on the road appear to “pop” into and out of your field of vision unexpectedly?
  4. While on the road, do you drive well below the speed limit and slower than most cars around you?
  5. Do you have difficulties positioning yourself on the road, with respect to other cars, lane markers, curves, sidewalks, parking spaces, etc.?
  6. Do you find yourself feeling confused and/or disoriented on the road?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to suspend your driving until you consult a specialist. If your answers indicate that you may have a problem under certain conditions (i.e., dim light or night) you may want to suspend your driving under those conditions until you consult a specialist further.

This questionnaire is from an excellent book, “Driving With Confidence, A Practical Guide to Driving With Low Vision” by Eli Peli and Doron Peli. Dr. Eli Peli is a Senior Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Their book contains a practical program to help you maximize your chances of retaining your driving privileges. It also provides a detailed description of driving vision regulations in every state as does the AAA website.

Other Useful Resources

AARP Driver Safety Program – Largest classroom driver refresher course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. It is intended to help older drivers improve their skills while teaching them to avoid accidents and traffic violations.

AAA Safety Foundation for Traffic – Tips on driving and resources for other transportation options.


There are many ways to stay safe and maintain your independence. Just be attentive to your own abilities and find out all you can about your options.


Judi Delgado - age-related macular degenerationJudith Delgado
Executive Director
Macular Degeneration Partnership
A program of Discovery Eye Foundation