Driving With Glaucoma Disease
Clear vision and focus are fundamental tools that every driver needs to have in order to drive safely. As a driver, both central and peripheral vision are necessary. These visual skills are needed in order to see other cars, street signs, and stop lights located in front of you. They also allow you to view your immediate surroundings so that you can easily make a turn, change lanes, go in reverse, or exit off of a highway.
To ensure safe driving with glaucoma, your local Department of Motor Vehicles office will require you to take a vision test. Since each patient’s degree of vision loss from glaucoma is different, the outcome of the driving vision test may differ. Your driving license may include restrictions or you may only need to occasionally repeat the vision test. In the latter case, this is done to ensure that your vision won’t impair your ability to drive safely.
Each state/province in the United States and Canada has its own visual requirements, and they tend to change regularly. That’s why it’s important to check with your DMV. Most of them have this information available online. Your low vision optometrist is up-to-date on the most recent rules and regulations. To find a list for each state, visit The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists website at www.IALVS.org to learn more about the driving laws for the visually impaired in your state, visit our DMV driving laws page.
Certain types of glaucoma can result in blurry or cloudy vision, light sensitivity, seeing halos around lights, or mild to acute discomfort. These kinds of symptoms can interfere with safe driving. Yet it’s important to remember that the most common form of glaucoma often displays no symptoms until the degree of vision loss has progressed significantly. Often, patients don’t even notice the vision loss until it’s too late.
The fear of losing a driver’s license and the resulting independence is something to carefully consider. If a glaucoma patient doesn’t meet their DMV’s vision requirements, this can have some serious and emotionally painful consequences. IALVS doctors understand this fear. We will use the most advanced medical technology, combined with our extensive knowledge and experience, to help you continue driving for as long as you can.
Living with glaucoma doesn’t have to mean the end of a rich, independent life. Let us help you live it to the fullest.
One of the ways we do this is by providing you with a wide range of low vision devices and glasses. Bioptic telescope glasses feature customized lenses which optimize your vision with miniature telescopes. They magnify images and objects such as street signs and traffic lights, which lets you see them in greater detail and with more clarity. Many US states and Canadian provinces allow people who have glaucoma to wear bioptic telescope glasses while driving.
Reading With Glaucoma Disease
If you love to read the Sunday paper or enjoy curling up with your favorite paperback, vision loss from glaucoma can disrupt your reading pleasure. The words on each page tend to blur together or seem cloudy. You may notice yourself squinting, experiencing eyestrain, or getting a headache from trying to make out the words.
Your IALVS doctor can help with a selection of low vision glasses. Telescopic reading glasses are a popular choice. These glasses give you clear vision with detailed imaging by magnifying the words on the page. Have you given up on reading your favorite books and magazines? Do you find it difficult to read a restaurant menu when dining out with friends and family? Try telescopic reading glasses so you can get back to doing the things you enjoy.
Watching TV With Glaucoma Disease
Living with glaucoma can affect your daily activities, but it doesn’t mean you have to give them up. There are a number of low vision devices and glasses that enhance your vision, allowing you to enjoy your favorite TV shows. Full Diameter Telescopic Glasses and Electronic Head Borne Devices like IRISVision and Jordy make it easy for glaucoma patients to enjoy watching TV.
Other options like Electronic Vision Aids (EVA’s) and Closed Circuit Television Systems (CCTV) provide you with a wider visual field so you can see more. These devices usually come with a monitor, a magnifying camera, and an adjustable stand for comfortable and flexible viewing so that you can adjust the position as you like.
Using a Phone With Glaucoma Disease
We’re living in the digital age, with 60% of people spending 6 hours or more each day on digital devices. Today, 70% of US adults and 65% of Canadian adults experience digital eye strain caused by excessive screen time. Glaucoma patients often find that they’ve developed a sensitivity to light, which can impact phone usage.
Does this mean you have to stop using a smartphone or any other mobile device? No, it doesn’t. Even with glaucoma, you can keep using your phone - while carefully managing your condition - along with some additional help. Since exposure to blue light can harm your eyes, your IALVS doctor can prescribe blue reflecting treatments and blue absorbing treatments for an improved experience with digital devices.
Additionally, computer glasses can decrease glare, which is especially helpful for glaucoma patients who have light sensitivity. Cell phones, tablets, and desktop computers often include features and settings that allow you to reduce the amount of blue light that is emitted. Our doctors will take the time to understand your personal lifestyle, allowing them to recommend the best computer glasses and low vision devices for your needs.
How Can I Recognize Faces?
Has it become a struggle to recognize people’s faces? This is typically a sign that glaucoma has caused a loss of central vision. When it comes to the people you love, it can be a difficult and emotional experience. That’s where we can help. IALVS doctors can recommend low vision devices like full-diameter telescopes. These kinds of glasses enlarge images from short distances, making it easier to see facial details of those closest to you.