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

What happens to our eyes as we get older?What happens to our eyes as we get older?What happens to our eyes as we get older?

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