Being Safe On The Road
For many people living with glaucoma, maintaining the ability to drive is hugely important. Not only is being able to drive convenient and quick, it also helps you maintain your independence in being able to get wherever you want, whenever.
The great news is, a glaucoma diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean goodbye to your driver’s license. The varying nature of glaucoma means that you may still be able to drive – as long as you’re keeping track of your eyesight, regularly assessing your driving, and practising good road safety.
Assessing your vision for driving
The main concern when it comes to driving with glaucoma is the state of your peripheral and side vision. Having the ability to see as much as possible is crucial when driving, as you need to be able to see around you when changing lanes or looking out for pedestrians and other hazards.
Consider how your vision is affecting your driving at the moment by asking yourself some of these questions:
- Do other cars sometimes seem to come out of nowhere?
- Do you often get honked at?
- Do you feel uncomfortable driving at night?
- Do oncoming headlights make a glare that bothers you?
- Do you find it hard to park?
- Do you get anxious or stressed while driving?
Even if you feel your vision is fine, answering yes to any of these can be a sign your eyesight might be affecting your driving. Perhaps have a family member or friend ride along with you one day to check how you’re driving, as they’ll often pick up on things you might not even notice. We recommend asking your eye health professional or doctor what they think of the condition of your eyes, as they’re trained to give you the best advice.
If you are no longer able to drive
You may be eligible for the Total Mobility scheme. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has produced a guide for Total Mobility scheme users and contact information for regions operating the scheme in New Zealand.
Call their contact centre on 0800 699 000 or read the guide here
All you need to know about Glaucoma and Driving
Practising safe driving
Regardless of the condition of your eyesight, it’s always important to practice road safety and responsible driving. If your vision is impaired, New Zealand Transport endorses monitoring your speed if there’s reduced visibility, using the sun visor on bright days or investing in high-quality sunglasses, frequently checking your mirrors, scanning the verges of the road for hazards, and – most of all – avoiding excessive speed.