Driving The Healthy Way

SINGAPORE is a nation on the move, though most of our travels are over short distances.

But we also have an aging population. So, when it comes to the longer haul, be it visiting relatives in Malaysia for festive reunions, or family driving holidays overseas, what should older drivers take note of?

During the festive holidays, it is not uncommon for many of us to drive long hours to visit friends and relatives.

The drive to Malaysia can vary between two to six hours depending on traffic and which part of the country. When driving, we are constantly looking out  for ever changing traffic conditions while dealing with distractions such as places of interests along the way.

Furthermore, driving at night is more demanding as we have to deal with oncoming headlights or poorly lit roads.

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Driving Tips

Drivers above the age of 60 may face some difficulties while driving for long hours. Here are some vision-related tips to keep us safe while we are driving.

  • For those who are wearing spectacles, make sure that the prescription is current and the spectacles are clean.
  • It is strongly encouraged to wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays and reduce glare from the sun.
  • Take frequent breaks while driving long distances to reduce eye strain.
  • Long hours of driving in an air-conditioned cabin will cause dry eyes. Use artificial lubricating eye drops to moisturise your eyes regularly.

Many eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can affect our vision and impair our ability to drive.

The Healthy Way is a regular health series developed for STORM.SG by Healthway Medical. If you have specific queries, please do email us at health@storm.sg and we will ask the panel of experts for their advice. Do note that only selected queries will be addressed.

Regular Maintenance

Just as we would send our car for an inspection before a road trip, seniors should have their eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to make sure that their vision is good enough to drive safely.

Regular eye screening can detect these age-related eye diseases and early treatment can prevent further deterioration of vision that will stopone from driving.

Those with eye diseases should be treated and pause driving till their eyesight is better.

For example, if one has visually significant cataract, small-incision cataract surgery with intra-ocular lens implantation can be performed to restore good vision. The patient can regain independence and can continue to experience the joy of driving.

Dr James Pan, Noble Eye & Vision CentreDr James Pan is the Medical Director and Senior Consultant at Nobel Eye & Vision Centre, which is part of the Healthway Medical Group.

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