Almost everybody has talked to someone who chooses to avoid driving after dark. In most cases, the people who make this choice are seniors and they readily admit that their vision is not good enough to drive at night. This brings up an interesting question. Are the vision requirements for driver’s license renewal strict enough? Should a local Mt. Pleasant eye doctor or licensed optometrist in your area have to sign off on your ability to drive with or without correction in the daylight or at night?
In most states including Michigan, all that is required for license renewal is a quick basic vision examination, much like what is typically done in a doctor’s office. They often test you without correction and again with it. If you pass without correction, you are given a license without restrictions. If you pass with correction, you are given a license that states that correction is necessary when driving. However, there is no test to determine how good your vision is in the daylight versus at night. Furthermore, in most states driver’s license renewals are only required every four years, and going to the DMV to have your vision retested is only mandated every ten years. Let’s face it, many health changes can occur in four years, and even more in ten.
When it comes to seniors, these changes happen more quickly, and the question becomes whether or not it is safe to have older people drive without regular vision and health checks. Let’s face it, the medical community recommends that everyone have them annually. It is necessary for youth to undergo well-child checks to go back to school every year or to participate in sports. However, we can go for up to ten years without being medically cleared to get into a motor vehicle and drive. Many people consider this to be alarming and are working toward changing the requirements. It has even been suggested that a health examination form be signed by both your physician and Mt. Pleasant eye doctor to confirm that it is safe for you to take the wheel. Many people suggest that your Mt. Pleasant optometrist be required to confirm a driver’s safety profile during both daylight and nighttime hours.
If you or a loved one is up for a driver’s license renewal, consider scheduling a health examination with your primary care physician and an examination with your Mt. Pleasant eye doctor to confirm that it is safe to be on the road. One of the biggest causes of death and injury in the United States is a motor vehicle accident. A Mt. Pleasant eye doctor can give you peace of mind about your eyesight or that of your loved one so you will know your driving capability. Call and schedule an appointment before your next license renewal is due, and at least once per year between renewals.