Why Am I Dizzy When I Am Driving?
There are one or two factors that occur while you are driving that can cause dizziness. First, turning your head or eyes left to right while driving can cause intermittent double vision. We can measure the extent of double vision in our office and then correct it using aligning eyeglass lenses. The second factor is the process of accommodation of the eyes. Accommodation is the ability of the eye to change focus from far distance to near distance and vice-versa and is achieved by the lens in the eye changing shape. Driving is a visual task – a driver is continually shifting their view from the dashboard, to the mirrors, to the road, and back again. As we age, eye accommodation becomes more difficult due to the loss of the elasticity of the lens in the eye. When your eyes are unable to smoothly and quickly change their focus from near to far distance, you develop the sensation of dizziness. This dizziness can also cause anxiety. Patients tend to be the most symptomatic on bridges, driving around curves, and driving at high speeds.
Tom, a 51-year-old male, came to our office complaining of anxiety when driving. He stated that his symptoms were worse when driving over bridges, around turns, in wide-open spaces, and when driving at fast speeds. He felt relief if he visually followed the lines on the road or tailgated the car in front of him. When he drove on a highway, he would shortly switch to the service road to decrease his severe sense of anxiety. While driving at night, he would often have to pull over and close his eyes. Our visual testing revealed significant farsightedness and convergence insufficiency. Tom responded well in our office to the trial framing of the aligning eyeglass prescription. He felt increased comfort and clarity. He was amazed at the details he could see in his surroundings that he had been missing before wearing the aligning lenses. A progressive lens with horizontal micro-prism was prescribed for Tom’s full-time wear.