Cataracts and Night Driving

Published: October 19, 2021

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One of the first symptoms of cataracts is trouble seeing in dim lighting. This is due to a loss of contrast sensitivity.(1) As the cataract worsens, there are additional symptoms, such as glare, starbursts, and halos around lights.(1)

  • For many people, being diagnosed with a cataract raises concerns about driving. The National Highway Traffic Administration addresses the question: “Can I still drive with a cataract?”
  • If your doctor has told you that you have a cataract, there are certain things that you should know and do to remain a safe driver.
  • Every person’s cataract is different. In its early stages, your cataract may be so small that it does not affect your vision. You may be able to drive safely for many years if you have no other serious medical problems. However, over time the cataract may worsen and cloud more of the lens of your eye. This can make your vision dull and blurry.
  • It may become difficult to see and to drive safely if you have a cataract.

You may need to plan car trips to avoid times when vision may be most affected; for example, driving west at dusk into a setting sun or during rainy conditions at night. Clean your car windshields (both inside and outside) often so vision is not reduced even further. You also should clean your automobile headlamps to provide as much light as possible for night driving.(2)

Cataract surgery – which is removal of the cataract and the insertion of a clear intraocular lens (IOL) –improves visual acuity and contrast sensitivity and reduces stray light and glare. This overall improvement in vision has a positive overall effect on driving safety.(3) “Studies have shown that cataract surgery reduces the rate of motor vehicle crash involvement by half and markedly improves driving performance.”(3)

Edge Pharma, a 503B Outsourcing Facility, is a leader in compounded ophthalmic products. Visit our Ophthalmology Products page to learn more.

 


(1) Thompson, V. MD, reviewer, All About Vision, Will Cataract Surgery Improve My Night Vision,https://www.allaboutvision.com/
(2) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Driving When You Have Cataracts, https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/
(3) Beiko, G., Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today, The Impact of Cataract Surgery on Driving, https://crstoday.com/articles/2013-aug/the-impact-of-cataract-surgery-on-driving/