America has an aging population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 55.8 million people in this country who are 65 years of age or older, and many of them are still driving.
A lot of seniors instinctively or consciously “self-limit” their driving as they age, usually because they start having problems with their night vision. Others aren’t able to or choose not to.
Age is the major culprit behind night blindness
The number one cause of night blindness is something that can’t be helped: aging. Around the age of 50, their pupils gradually decrease in size. That means there is less light hitting the retina, making it harder to see in dim conditions. Older people also lose some of the rods in their retinas, which is what helps people detect contrast in the dark.
In addition to just the normal consequences of age, older people are also more likely to suffer from diseases that interfere with their vision, like:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Vitamin A deficiency
In addition, the popularity of corrective laser surgery to fix age-related farsightedness (presbyopia) may actually be one of the problems. While LASIK and other surgeries can fix refractive problems in normal light, up to 25% of people who have surgery find that their night vision gets worse.
For a lot of older people, any limitation of their driving represents a loss of independence and freedom. Unfortunately, some folks try to hang onto those things longer than they should. If you’re in an accident with an older driver, you have every right to protect your interests. Finding out more about your legal rights can help you obtain fair compensation for your losses.