What happens to our eyes as we get older?


  • As we age our retina becomes less sensitive to light. More light makes it easier to see and drive and older drivers require significantly more light than younger drivers.
  • Our ability to change our focus starts to slow down around age 40. A driver over the age of 40 can take at least a second longer to refocus than a younger driver takes (such as when looking up from the dash to the road ahead.)
  • We become more sensitive to glare because the lenses of our eyes thicken and the pupils become smaller. A 55-year old takes eight times longer to recover from glare than a 17-year old.
  • Peripheral vision narrows and depth perception declines as we age. Depth perception is important because we use it to judge how fast other cars are moving.
  • Colours become more difficult to see - especially moving Reds as used in brake lights and traffic lights.

          BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

    What can cause poor eyesight?

    • Natural ageing process 
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Diabetes 
    • Ear Infections and Sinus 
    • Overactive thyroid function 

    Common Symptoms:

    • Constant headaches
    • Blurred vision 
    • Not being able to focus 
    • Sore, burning or red eyes

    Eye Diseases:

    There are 5 main causes of eye disease in the UK, some are more serious than others but they all pose a serious threat to safe driving if they are not treated.

    • Pink Eye - Conjunctivitis
    • Dry Eye
    • Cataract
    • Glaucoma
    • Diabetic retinopathy

    What happens to our eyes as we get older? - Safety Advice for older drivers.

    Tips and Advice - Article No.15 RoadDriver 2010

    For more information and a printable version to pass on to friends and family, click the link below.

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