Laser retinopexy (treatment of retinal tears)
When a retinal tear or a small retinal detachment occurs, laser treatment may be applied to prevent further accumulation of fluid beneath the retina and minimize the risk of a vision-threatening retinal detachment. The laser is applied around the retinal defect. Over the course of a few weeks, the treated area develops a scar, which forms a tight seal between the retina and the underlying tissue. This procedure is sometimes performed around weak areas in the retina, such as lattice degeneration, in patients who may be at higher risk for retinal detachment. Laser retinopexy is often performed in conjunction with surgical treatments for retinal detachment, such as vitrectomy or pneumatic retinopexy.
Managing low vision
Low vision can be defined as a loss of eyesight that makes everyday tasks difficult. A person with low vision may find it difficult or impossible to accomplish such activities as reading, writing, watching television, driving a car, or recognizing faces.
Visual disability in relation to driving an automobile
Driving a car is an important element of many people’s lives. The ability to drive provides a person with greater independence, and it is required for many occupations or as a means to get to and from work. However, as we know, driving is also a responsibility and privilege because it concerns public safety.
Many eye diseases cause visual disability, either temporary or permanent. If you have an ocular condition that has caused reduced visual acuity or visual field, it is important to understand the risks of driving a motor vehicle with impaired vision.
Driving requirements in the state of New Jersey
|Type of License||Minimum Visual Requirements|
|Basic license||20/50 vision with or without glasses or corrective contact lenses. For sight in one eye only, that eye must meet the 20/50 criteria.|
|Commercial license||20/40 vision with or without glasses or corrective contact lenses in both eyes.Must have 70 degrees of peripheral vision in each eye, and must distinguish among red, green, and amber colors.|
In New Jersey, people with visual disability may use special telescopic lenses called bioptic lenses to pass the visual acuity tests. Bioptic lenses are costly and can be difficult to use, but they may enable a person to pass the visual acuity test who would otherwise not be able to pass it.
Vision requirements for driving vary from state to state. If your driving license is from a state other than New Jersey, we advise you to contact your in-state doctor and your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles about your vision requirements for driving.
Low vision resources
At NJ Retina, our staff will be happy to discuss possible ways to deal with visual disability, especially as it concerns driving. Talk to our office staff about resources including:
- The Foundation of the Automobile Association of America (AAA)
- North Jersey Automobile Club
- Lighthouse International, New York City (for vision rehabilitation and low vision lenses)