According to the National Statistical Office, the number of license holders in Korea reached 3.264 million as of 2019. Of these, the number of people in their 50s or younger with a license is 26.54 million (81%), and 6.1 million (19%) of the elderly in their 60s or older.
On the surface, it can be seen as a simple statistic, but drivers in their 60s and above, in the Baby Boomer generation, need more attention than other drivers. Of course, driving itself should be careful regardless of age. However, drivers in their 60s or older often have to think about their health.
Particular attention is required on the holiday homecoming, and children of the baby boomer generation may occasionally have to stop driving. Among them, it is advisable to dry it around occasionally because it is difficult to secure vision if you have eye disease.
In this content, we will take a comprehensive look at typical eye diseases that can occur in elderly drivers.
① Presbyopia & primitive
Presbyopia is a disease in which the elasticity of the lens decreases with age, making it difficult to see nearby objects. Things that are close to you may appear blurred instantly, which may cause difficulties in determining the situation while driving. Originally, it was a common disease in the elderly, but it has become a common disease regardless of age due to the spread of smart devices.
On the other hand, hyperopia is a symptom similar to presbyopia, but the root cause is different. If presbyopia is caused by a lack of elasticity of the lens, hyperopia is caused by an abnormal lens refraction, which causes poor focus. It is usually okay, but it is difficult to concentrate on driving if you are tired of your eyes, so it is recommended to relieve your eyestrain even for a moment unless you need to drive right away.
Nearsightedness shows nearby objects, but distant objects appear blurry. For drivers looking at long distances, nearsightedness can also be a risk factor while driving. This is because it can be predicted that there is something, but it can be difficult to understand the exact situation.
Myopia can cause headaches and eye strain. In severe cases, it can lead to cataracts and glaucoma, making driving itself difficult. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain eyeglasses or a separate prescription recommended by your doctor.
Astigmatism is a disease that occurs regardless of age. The cornea and lens are bent or wounded to spread light, making the surroundings appear blurred. In this case, problems can occur in everyday life, and vision correction, glasses, contact lenses, etc. are often used to solve this problem.
However, sometimes, even if you leave your glasses or contact lenses, you still hold the steering wheel. Please remember that driving with the thought of “No way I am” can lead to fatal accidents.
Cataract is a typical elderly disease, but these days it has become a disease that is easily visited even by young drivers. According to a previous National Health and Nutrition Survey report, 42.2% of people over 40 years old and 91.8% of people over 65 years old have cataract symptoms.
Although it is the most common disease, the symptom threatens safe driving and requires constant management.
Cataract symptoms are two overlapping or blurry things. Occasionally, writing that was difficult to see with age may be visible, but this does not mean that your eyesight has improved. This is because presbyopia and cataract symptoms overlap and focus has been temporarily adjusted. In simple terms, it is a combination of presbyopia (= farsightedness) and cataracts (= myopia).
However, if neglected, the symptoms worsen and worsen, so it is recommended that you see it as a red light and seek medical attention.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve. A visual field defect occurs due to damage to the optic nerve, which gradually narrows from the peripheral vision. When you notice that the problem is glaucoma, it is often already in the terminal stage, and medication can relieve symptoms, but it is difficult to cure it.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous while driving. This is because the peripheral vision is dark and it is difficult to secure the view. In fact, according to the American Visual Function Research Association (ARVO), the accident rate is five times higher than that of ordinary drivers.
Since glaucoma is difficult to diagnose in the early stages, periodic examinations are required.
② Retinal pigmentation
Retinal pigmentation is a fatal disease with a high risk of blindness. This disease is caused by the buildup of pigment in the retina that converts light into the eye into electrical signals. As a result, your vision becomes narrower and eventually you lose sight.
It is usually classified as a genetic disorder, but sometimes it occurs without a family history. Retinal pigmentation is characterized by night blindness. It interferes with daily life by not seeing objects properly in the dark. If the symptoms get worse, you can see only the center of a tunnel, and you may not be able to recognize text or face.
In the early days, it is possible to drive with lightness like glaucoma, so it is recommended to see an ophthalmologist if it is a little different from usual.
③ Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a terrifying disease caused by diabetes. It is classified as one of the most terrifying diseases in the medical world, and is widely regarded as the cause of blindness worldwide. In addition, a 90% incidence rate is observed when diabetes has persisted for more than 30 years.
The disease is mainly caused by impaired retinal circulation in the eyeball. Bleeding occurs due to the formation of new blood vessels where blood circulation is poor, and this causes vision loss, leading to blindness within 5 years.
Initially, there may be symptoms such as bugs floating around, objects appearing crooked, or blurred. And night vision decreases. For this reason, drivers with diabetes are encouraged to leave the drive to someone else or use public transportation.
Please keep in mind that accidents and symptoms come without notice.
④ macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that occurs in the macula, the center of the retina, among eye tissues. The macula is an important part of helping you see an object accurately, so if something goes wrong with this area, your eyesight is noticeable. Usually, macular degeneration progresses with age, and the part you want to see is dark or distorted.
The exact cause has not yet been determined, but smoking, hyperlipidemia, and excessive exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet rays) are cited.
What we’ve looked at in the text can be thought of as something unrelated to cars. However, the basic of driving is’Securing vision’. It is said that driving is a difficult process with the five senses, but in the end, vision occupies the greatest weight.
Therefore, eye health care needs to be taken care of with age. Referring to this article, if your parents or close acquaintances who have difficulty driving due to eye disease are driving long distances, please grab the steering wheel instead or recommend public transportation.