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Is It Safe to Drive With a Cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the lens on your eye. For those with cataracts, seeing through this lens can feel like seeing through a fogged-up windshield. Clouded vision can make it difficult to drive, especially at night. Most cataracts develop slowly, which makes it easy for our vision professionals to detect them at an annual eye exam at Nevada Eye Physicians. During cataract awareness month, we are continuing to answer our patients’ many questions regarding cataracts, including, “Can you drive after cataract surgery?” To schedule an appointment to discuss cataract removal, we have seven locations throughout Nevada including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump.

How do cataracts form?

The lens is positioned behind the iris, the colored part of your eye. The lens’ job is to focus on the light that passes through and produces clear images on your retina. As you age, the lens will become thicker and less transparent, which makes you more likely to develop cataracts. When a cataract develops, clouding will become denser and will involve a larger portion of the lens. In severe cases, it can even block light as it passes through the eye. This results in blurry vision. Any changes in your vision should be evaluated by one of our vision professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians.

Diagnosing and treating cataracts

We perform eye exams that involve many tests that can determine if you have a cataract. These tests include:

  1. Visual acuity tests: They test how well you can read letters on a chart.

  2. Slit-lamp examination: This allows us to see any structures on the front of your eyes when we magnify them, such as a cataract.

After we diagnose you with a cataract, we can discuss treatment options that will benefit your eye health. For less severe cases, glasses may be able to help you see better while reading or driving at night. For other patients, we may suggest laser cataract surgery. We can help you decide which type of cataract surgery would benefit you best at one of our eye centers.

How does having cataracts affect my driving?

Having cataracts can make it harder to see the road, street signs, cars, and pedestrians. Cataracts make objects look blurry. Headlight glare can be especially difficult to see through. Colors may fade when a cataract is worsening, making it hard to see traffic lights. It’s important that someone with a cataract has their prescriptions for contact lenses or eyeglasses changed as needed so their vision can be clear while driving.

Ultimately, everyone’s cataract is different. In the early stages, your cataract may be small so that it doesn’t affect your vision much. You may be able to drive safely for many years before it worsens and results in blurry vision. You may want to limit the time you’re driving when it’s dark. Also, make sure that your car windshield is clean inside and out, so your vision isn’t reduced even further.

Can you drive after cataract surgery?

After choosing cataract surgery, you will want to know how it will affect your driving abilities. Cataract surgery does require anesthesia and because of this, you won’t be able to drive home after your surgery. Most of our patients at Nevada Eye Physicians have been able to drive 24 hours after their surgery. However, this depends on the patient’s results. The day after your surgery, you will return to our office for a follow-up appointment where we will evaluate your vision to determine if it’s safe for you to drive. It’s important that you wait for clearance from your physician since everyone’s healing process differs. You will need to have a ride to and from your follow-up visit.

Learn more about how to treat cataracts and blurry vision

At Nevada Eye Physicians, our vision professionals offer eye exams that can detect cataracts. When detected, we can suggest different treatment options, including surgery. When you notice any changes in your vision, it’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Call us today to schedule an eye exam at any of our seven locations throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.