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When should you stop driving with macular degeneration?

Will you wait until your doctor tells you to stop or you fail the drivers license vision test? Will you consult with family members ?

  1. A man I sit next to at church recently wrecked both his car and pickup within a few weeks times. I asked today if he had either vehicle back from the shop yet. With a look of chagrin, he told me he walked to church today. He explained his family voted on whether or not he should continue to drive. He lost the vote and says he will no longer drive. I asked if he had macular degeneration and he said yes. He said he was seeing things that were not there. I explained about Charles Bonet Syndrome. This conversation left me wondering if my own adult children would have to tell me it’s time to stop driving or will I give up driving on my own. Sharon Moore Patient leader

    1. I would hand my drivers licence in (reluctantly) if I thought I was unfit to drive. If family members thought I was unfit to drive, I would seriously consider what they said. My father drove until he was 90 with wet macular degeneration. He handed in his licence because he had a fall, and broke his hip, and wasn't strong enough to drive after that (although he recovered and could walk ok.) My mother handed her licence in when she could no longer see the stop sign (which she knew was there) at the end of her street. That gave her a fright. In NSW, Australia, we have to take a full "Fitness to Drive" assessment after 75 years of age. The GP assesses physical and cognitive capacity, and requests a report from our Optometrist or Ophthalmologist if we have any eyesight problems at all. So, in order to continue to drive, we have to be fairly healthy as well as have eyesight which meets current standards. Sometimes people are granted "conditional licences" with which they can drive 10 kilometres from home to undertake essential tasks such as shopping or attending medical appointments. Wendy, Patient Leader.

      1. I love Australia's method of determing the ability to drive. Here in the US each state has its own rules. In my state we can renew our license on -line if you are under age 70 unless special considerations apply. After that age we need to go to the DMV and take a successful eye test at each renewal. Generally no driving skills test required. A doctor is required to notify DMV if a person has a valid license but no longer meets driving requirements-age is not an issue.
        Renewal time is 6 years . However as needed before the next renewal time one can make the right decision to stop driving , pay attention to family pressure, or sometimes be reported by another person to the DMV of their unreported driving challenges. Sadly many driving challenges are discovered from infractions or accidents. Scary isn't? Mary

        1. thanks for explaining your State's regulations. Not far from me there was a terrible accident recently where a 90 year old woman accidently drove her car up onto the footpath and killed a 17 year old boy. This caused a lot of "discussion" about age and how it relates to driving. A few doctors in the area got worried and called in their older patients for a thorough check. It is food for thought. Wendy, Patient Leader.

      2. I have dry MD in my left eye and wet MD in the right; I have been receiving injections in the right eye for a year now. Otherwise, I am healthy and fit 67 years old. At a recent appointment with my ophthalmologist, I asked if I would be able to pass the vision test when my license needs to be renewed in 5 years. The conversation went something like this:

        ‘Well your vision is still pretty good in your left eye.’ I reminded him that things pop in and out of existence in my left eye and lines are crooked. ‘Oh, that’s right. Hmmm … have you considered assisted living?’

        That escalated quickly, didn’t it? In fairness, I have already stopped driving distances of more than 2 miles from home, and I don’t drive at night. I live in a rural area, no public transportation within 15 miles, no Uber, no taxis. It might be time to move.

        1. your comment resonates with me. I live 15 miles from the nearest town with limited services. There is no public transportation in the county I live in. I now am in the final stages, GA. I don’t drive far and never at night. I know the time is approaching when I need to stop driving. Fortunately my husband still drives. Do you live alone? Considering your good health I doubt you need assisted living. I know you have a lot of decisions to make. Keep us posted. Regards, Sharon Moore patient leader

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