Can Cataracts Interfere with Driving?
Cataracts are a collection of proteins that build upon the lens of the eye and create cloudy formations that interfere with a person’s vision. Cataracts are a progressive condition, so patients can often function with cataracts for many years. Eventually, cataracts start to obstruct vision and compromise daily tasks, such as reading and driving.
Most people rely on driving to get them to work, important appointments, and social functions. The idea of losing that independence can be scary for those with cataracts.
Here, Dr. Daniel Tepper discusses how cataracts affect driving for our Chicago, IL patients, and how cataract surgery can restore vision so that patients can resume daily activities.
Can I Still Drive if I Have Cataracts?
Cataracts affect each patient differently, and impact vision according to how advanced cataracts have become.
In the early stages of cataracts, many patients can continue to drive without issue. However, as cataracts become more advanced, vision may become cloudy or blurred, and it can become more difficult to make out details.
If cataracts interfere with the vision to the point that driving becomes a risk, or if a patient can no longer pass the vision test required by the DMV, the patient should stop driving until the cataracts are treated.
How Will Cataracts Affect My Driving?
Cataracts form on the lens of the eye, so they create an obstruction that makes it seem as though you are looking through a cloudy or fogged-up window.
Cataracts blur the vision and make colors and fine details less distinct. Cataracts can make it more difficult to drive during the day but are a particular concern at night when glares and halos are more likely to be a problem.
Potential issues for drivers with cataracts include:
- Poor central vision
- Difficulty reading street or traffic signs
- Glares from headlights or streetlights
- Difficulty seeing in bright light
- Double vision
As cataracts get worse and begin to truly interfere with a person’s vision, the only viable treatment option is cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, a concentrated laser is used to break up and remove the eye’s crystalline lens.
Once the lens has been removed, it is replaced with an intraocular lens or IOL. IOLs are clear lenses that function just like the natural lens of the eye and allow patients to see clearly once again.
IOLs come in prescriptions form (much like a contact lens) so that they can correct common forms of vision impairment, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
Can I Drive after Cataract Surgery?
In most cases, cataract surgery improves a person’s vision. Even if minor visual abnormalities are still present following cataract surgery, they should be corrected with prescription glasses.
Because cataracts effectively restore vision, patients should be able to resume all their usual activities and functions, including driving, once they have recovered from cataract surgery.
If cataracts are compromising your vision and interfering with day-to-day tasks, you may be an ideal candidate for cataract surgery. To learn more about this procedure, contact us online at your earliest convenience or call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daniel Tepper.