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Seniors, Glaucoma and Increased Risks for Car Accidents

It’s a hard thing to do — give up your car keys as an elderly resident.

The truth of the matter is that seniors are doing everything that they can to hold on to their driving abilities and their independence. Unfortunately, that’s not always the safest move. There often comes a point when the safer option is to give up the keys because of problems and difficulties that come with age. According to Sunrise Senior Living, the loss of driving privileges can happen for a number of reasons, including not being cognitively fit for driving or having poor vision.
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The American Academy of Ophthalmology recently made an announcement that senior drivers with glaucoma are actually at much higher risks for getting into a traffic accident. Researchers looked into the frequency and rates of accidents for elderly drivers who had glaucoma and compared their findings to drivers of the same ago who had normal vision. According to the study, drivers with glaucoma were about twice as likely to get into an accident.

Our Miramar car accident lawyers understand that our vision typically worsens with age. It’s a fact of life and we all need to deal with it as best we can. Your best bet is to make sure you’re getting your vision tested regularly.

“We would like to create mandatory vision testing guidelines for glaucoma patients,” said Dr. Shiho Kunimatsu-Sanuki, leader of the study.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports that residents of all ages can be susceptible to this condition, but your risks are higher with age. One of the most unfortunate things about this condition is that there’s no cure for it. Roughly 10 percent of those with the disease never even get the proper treatment.

Left untreated, it’s common for individuals to go blind. According to recent reports, more than 2 million U.S. residents have the disease and only about half of them even know something’s wrong.

Not sure what glaucoma is?

It’s a group of eye conditions that can cause some serious damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain. In many of these cases, damage to this nerve is caused by increased pressure in the eye, which is also referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP).

Tests for Glaucoma:

-Visual Field Measurement

-Visual Acuity

-Slit Lamp Examination

-Retina Examination

-Gonioscopy

Halogen lights, such as the headlights of other vehicles as well as fluorescent light fixtures, can cause and uncomfortable glare for those with glaucoma. Some people with glaucoma also notice glare in stores with fluorescent lighting.

If you’re concerned with your driving abilities, ask a loved one to ride along with you and to evaluate your situation honestly. You should also seek a professional opinion from a doctor.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

AAA Helping Elderly Drivers to Find the Perfect Car, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2012

South Florida Driving Safety: Flooded Vehicles, Hidden Dangers, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2012

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