Wih the number of older drivers on the roadways in America expected to explode in coming years, the question of when is the right time for a senior driver to hand over the keys to the car permanently because of diminished abilities becomes a more pressing matter.
By 2030, nearly 90% of the 70 million Americans older than age 65 are projected to still have driver’s licenses (according to auto insurer AAA). That’s significantly increased from 2009 when just 33 million licensed American drivers were over the age of 65.
Many seniors fear the loss of independence that can come with the inability to continue to drive safely. Many feel it is a burden to have to rely on loved ones or friends to run errands, grocery shop and get to the places they want to go. To their credit, this loss of independence is a legitimate concern.
Cataract Surgery Linked to Reduced Risk of Car Accidents
A new study published in the Australian Journal of Age and Ageing has some good news for the senior population working to remain independent and self-sufficient despite aging. Findings support the notion that having cataract surgery can give seniors more (safe!) time behind the wheel.
A long-term study of 2,849 drivers aged 60 and older recorded a significant reduction in car accident risk after cataract surgery. Specifically, in the large study group, which was followed over the course of several years, there were 1347 car accidents in the year before cataract surgery in the first eye, 850 accidents in the period between the first and second eye surgery and 960 car crashes in the year after cataract surgery on the second eye.
Cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye, are the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and according to the National Institutes of Health, about half of all Americans will either have cataracts or have had cataract surgery by the time they reach their 80th birthday.
Many people may delay or even avoid cataract surgery because they have started to adapt to their reduced vision. This may work somewhat for interacting with people or a few basic tasks. But the cloudy, dull vision cataracts cause is not safe for driving – especially at night when glares and halos can be more of an issue.
If people are on the fence about having cataract surgery, this largescale study offers some solid findings regarding the very real reduced risk of accidents behind the wheel for senior drivers. Studies like this one should help people with cataracts feel even more confident about cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery Has Come a Long Way
Today’s modern cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures performed today. It is an outpatient procedure and requires no hospital stay. Most patients resume normal activities the next day and report little to no discomfort. More than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States every year, with the vast majority of these procedures producing excellent visual outcomes.
Frantz EyeCare is a premier comprehensive ophthalmology practice with multiple locations in Southwest Florida. They’re known for their personalized, compassionate care and an unmatched attention to every detail.
The goal at Frantz EyeCare is to provide the right cataract treatment for each person’s individual lifestyle and vision goals. Choices include traditional surgery or Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery with the LenSx® Laser. The advanced, precision-based LenSx Laser operates with unmatched accuracy and computer control, helping the surgeon customize the procedure to each patient’s unique eye.
Dr. Frantz is the #1 Cataract Surgeon in Southwest Florida* and has been voted by News-Press readers as the “Best Cataract Surgeon” multiple years in a row. Ready to learn more about cataract surgery at Frantz EyeCare? You may schedule your free cataract screening by calling 239-418-0999 or visiting BetterVision.net.
*According to AHCA data 1st quarter 2017
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