Elderly and Licenses

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011 ( 69 moms have responded )

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Ok, so we have an age restriction on getting a license, should there be an age restriction on when to lose it?

I was out today, and saw a very elderly lady driving her vehicle...with not the best of ease. I could see that she was shaky, and all over the road. Should there be a cap on when to lose your license for the safety of others? My MIL is 75 and is still fully capable of driving. But, some people at that age should not. I know we all have examples of this. Should they start more rigorous driving tests for the elderly?

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Krista - posted on 02/18/2011

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Is it ageism though, Mary? It's not uncommon for vision, hearing and reflexes to deteriorate as we age. Why is it unreasonable to ask that those faculties be tested periodically in order for someone to be allowed to be behind the wheel of a quarter-ton of metal hurtling down the road?

Mind you, I'm also not opposed to re-testing every 5 years either -- I agree that there are some seriously craptacular drivers on the road. And even the "good" drivers may have some bad habits.

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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Yes Sherri - You're also 10 years older than I am but 9 years younger than my parents.

The entire point was - things change. If they don't - well they really should. Especially as technology and better safety measures are known. Like better teaching tools to equip better drivers.

Yes Sarah - if you are a high school student you get driving lessons for free. If you do not get them while you're in high school though they cost a lot.

Sara - posted on 02/18/2011

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The problem with the eye test they do now at the license branch is that it only tests central vision. So, if a person has a condition like glaucoma for instance and they are losing vision in the periphery, that isn't tested, and that can be WAY more dangerous than not being able to see 20/40 or whatever the cutoff is on the vision chart. They are supposed to test peripheral as well as central vision, and they don't.

Sara - posted on 02/18/2011

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I'm not so sure it should be age as much as physical ability. I know some pretty sharp 90 year olds, after all. But I think the real problem here in the States is that the DMV doesn't do it's job when they screen people to get their licenses, and I think after a certain age you should probably have to have a physical and have your doctor sign off to be able to get your license renewed. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's a few years ago, and she had horrible dementia. WE had to take her license away from her because she was a danger to herself. But according to the state, she was just fine to operate a motor vehicle. That's a problem.

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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I think when people reach a certain age, they need to be retested. Let's say 55 (10 years before retirement) every 1-5 years after that depending on how "you" did. I also think your optometrist should also have to let whoever hands out your license if your vision is failing or has gotten worse.

I've always had glasses, I can barely see without them. However when I first got my license they missed marking the restriction on my license that I need to be wearing my prescription glasses. If I hadn't told them they had messed up I could have (in theory) driven without my glasses, caused a huge accident and not been at fault for not wearing my glasses since the restriction wasn't there.

I also think the age teenagers can get their license should be raised though. Especially up here. Too many new drivers on snow & ice without the experience or common sense to know what to do.

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69 Comments

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Stifler's - posted on 02/19/2011

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HAHA 55? My parents both work full time at 51 and 52 :S Here I think they are bringing in a law or already have that you have to get a doctors and optometrists OK to still have your license if you're over 75 or 80 or something.

Jodi - posted on 02/19/2011

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See, in a few years we won't even HAVE to drive the cars ourselves, the cars will do all the work, so licences will be irrelevant anyway!!!

Jodi - posted on 02/19/2011

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I think it was a Lexus. And I have no idea how it does it. Something to do with a camera system at all angles.....my husband pointed it out to me (not because I suck at parallel parking, but because he does, LOL - he has been known to ask me to do it for him!!!).

Jodi - posted on 02/19/2011

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"If nothing else, it would force me to practice parallel parking every five years ;) "

You won't even ever have to do it again soon....have you seen the new cars that actually parallell park FOR you? Honestly, I thought it was a joke, but it's not - there are really cars now that just park for you.......

Bonnie - posted on 02/19/2011

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I'm in Canada and there was a free course offered when I was in highschool, but I didn't take it then. I didn't feel I needed to know how to drive at 16, which was when it was offered.

Angela - posted on 02/19/2011

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Yes there most absolutley should be a cap when The DL gets taken away. And they should begin more rigorous testing for the elderly. Being Old is not an excuse to drive shitty and I dont want an 85 year old running over my child or any one elses,cause they wont see age 86...Just being Honest.

We live in California,and My Fiance's Gma got a renewal in the mail for her DL?!!! She has lots of complications such as arthritis and she cant hear well, and she doesent drive period! I was just shocked that the DMV would send her a renewal. She didnt even have to go in and take a test!!! Oh my Goodness, that was just appauling.

Katherine - posted on 02/19/2011

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In the states we don't have anything like that. I think it would be a great idea to implement something like that.
At least in Michigan....

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/19/2011

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My step father did not even show up for his own driving test....he paid someone else to do it. Back then, there were no pictures on licenses...so really, he does not legally have one..LOL.

Jenn - posted on 02/19/2011

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First of all - I'm in Canada and there was nothing offered at school for free driver's ed - I had to pay for mine.

Anyway, in Ontario seniors are already required to renew their licence every 2 years - they have to take an eye exam, a multiple choice test on the rules of the road and road signs, and they have to participate in a group education session. Some drivers are also required to do a road test (I'm assuming it would be based on the results of the 3 previous requirements, and any demerit points on your licence). This starts at age 80, which I think is fair.

Mary - posted on 02/19/2011

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The entire point was - things change. If they don't - well they really should. Especially as technology and better safety measures are known. Like better teaching tools to equip better drivers.

This is why I think an actual re-test every 5 years for all drivers, regardless of age, is a good idea. Especially when you consider that the bulk of "teaching" a child to drive is done by a parent.

As a nurse, I have to be re-certified in both CPR and neonatal resuscitation every 2 years. It's a pain in the ass, but it is worthwhile. Even if nothing has changed in the two years since I last did it, it serves as a good refresher of my skills, and forces me to consciously think about a skill set that has become routine. There is a short review movie of key elements, a written test, and then I must demonstrate my hands-on technique in a mock mega-code for the instructor.
It forces me to review the current information, and keeps my current skills sharp. I honestly think all drivers would benefit from a similar reinforcement of their skills.

If nothing else, it would force me to practice parallel parking every five years ;)

Iridescent - posted on 02/18/2011

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No, because some people are quite capable until the day they die, yet others lose mental and/or physical ability quite young. There is no real way to put a safe and fair age on this.

I do think there needs to be an ability requirement though! As in, pass a driving test every year, instead of getting a free pass by renewing your license on time like it currently is. Also, I swear, there are so many people I am driving behind or in oncoming traffic to that scare the crap out of me that I wish they could be pulled over and their licenses revoked immediately as of that crap! WTH!

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2011

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@ Amie, what you described is still like that here, plus you have to log up X number of hours that your parents sign off on.....Lessons are still not required, just as they weren't required when I got my licence.



I was actually talking about the fact that here in Australia, 50-60 years ago, people did not need to go for a licence at all. It was just handed to them when they applied for it.



Yes, a few road rules have changed since I went for my licence, but very few. And it is *my* responsibility as a driver to ensure I keep up to date with any changes in the road laws. After all, the police are going to assume I know them, as they have every right to assume it. They publicise changes pretty well here though.



Any testing that is undertaken here in Australia for older ages is for medical capability to drive. It is already compulsory for an optimetrist to report someone whose vision is impaired enough to require glasses when driving. It is also compulsory for a doctor to notify the authorities is there is any medical impairment too. So really, I don't see the need for regular mandatory medical testing until someone reaches their 70s.

Sarah - posted on 02/18/2011

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That's crazy! hahhaah!
My lessons worked out at about £200 for 10 lessons.
The Theory and Hazard Perception Tests were £30 together.
Each test I took cost me £60.
As I said, I had to have 3 tests and a fuck load of lessons!

Thanks golly gosh my darling Daddy helped me out with some of it!!

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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Sherri - I wasn't answering for you. Stop assuming.

No I didn't pay to take the test. I paid $25 for my license once I passed though. I now pay $100 for it to last 5 years. I used to have to renew it annually. (savings of $25 lol woo hoo - one year free)

Sarah - posted on 02/18/2011

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Well my golly gosh!!!!!
I could have saved my poor father a FORTUNE if we lived in Canada!!!!
Do you have to pay to take the test??

Sarah - posted on 02/18/2011

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So with Drivers Ed, is that something you take at school? Is it free?
We don't have anything like that here!

Sarah - posted on 02/18/2011

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I just passed my test a few weeks ago, and the way they test you has changed (in the UK) even since I'VE been driving. My first test was different from 2nd two (yes, yes, it took me me 3 times to pass! lol)

If I had taken my test back when I was 17 (legal age to drive here) then I wouldn't have had to do the Theory Test or Hazard Perception Test.

So it's changed a lot just in my lifetime! The tests my parents took, for example, were pretty basic in comparison!

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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It's not just about whether or not a person is physically or mentally capable - do they really know (seriously) how much things have changed?



How many of you read the new driving manuals that come out for the driving lessons each year? I sure don't.

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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Jodi -



I'd hazard a guess that even the driving lessons I received - are not the same as the ones you would have received here. My parents are 48 - they never took lessons. They wrote the written exam and did the driving test. That was all it took to get your license that long ago. There were no lessons, not like I know them. You got handed the exam for your learner's and were sent off with it if you passed. You had to wait a year and then could write and drive for your actual license. (I double checked this with my parents before posting too)



When I went to school - I took classroom lessons for 2 months (twice a week) - then I wrote a test to get my learners - then I did driving lessons for a month (again twice a week). Then when I was 16 (or if you already were you had to wait 6 months) I could go for my actual license. Then I was a probationary driver for 2 years. after the two years were up without breaking any of their guidelines/rules/laws my license was a restriction free license. (other than my glasses, lol)



Even in the 14 years I've been driving, a few things have changed (which is why I'm ok with Mary's idea of an across the board standard test so many years for everyone). The changes made probably are nowhere near the changes in another 26 years.



40 years of driving is a long time. A lot changes - especially when they were never given real lessons to begin with.

Katherine - posted on 02/18/2011

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New Hampshire drivers who are 75 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DMV office. In addition to taking a vision test (see below), you will also be asked to take a road test. In preparation for this, you can review the New Hampshire Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For faster service at the DMV, you can make an appointment by calling (603) 271-2371.

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2011

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But Amie, your in-laws, in that case, are not the norm. I know someone who had to hand their licence while still in her 30's. Admittedly, she was not healthy, and due to the potential for seizures had to hand it in, but that is an exception, not the norm. MOST people in their 50's and 60s still function at a level of capability that would not warrant annual medicals or tests, and therefore doesn't really justify the need for them. Instead, perhaps it is a requirement for all medical professionals to report certain issues to the licencing authorities, and THEN it can be assessed on a case-by-case basis as to whether someone should retain their licence. I just think it would be impractical to test everyone, and also to test everyone over 55 (as an example). Not so impractical over 70, because the means DOES justify the end.

And really, does the means justify the end. I think you will find it is not the over 55's causing accidents (in general) but rather, the over 70's.

I think another thing to keep in mind, however, is that most people who are currently over 70-80 never actually had to be tested like we did for their licences in the first place. At least, here in Australia I know that is the case.

Katherine - posted on 02/18/2011

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I have pondered this many many times. I think they should either lose it, or take another driving exam and test.
Sorry if I'm repeating I didn't read the other posts yet.
I have known soooo many elderly people to get in accidents, have TIA's, strokes, and depth perception problems.
It's a definite must.

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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I have no problem with Mary's idea either, btw. I'd write do a driving test every 5 years (or however often they deem it necessary) if it ensures unsafe drivers are not behind the wheel.

I'm also still fully in favor of increasing the driving age.

Amie - posted on 02/18/2011

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Considering I'm one of two who mentioned 55 (and I think one other agreed with it) I do know how "young" 55 CAN be. It's not that way for everyone though.

Especially my in laws. Who are 55 and 54 with as many issues as my Gramma's did when they were in their late 60's. It's just a baseline and one most would pass, I hope anyway. Not everyone takes care of themselves though and it does deteroriate your body faster if you don't.

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2011

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Sal, I am pretty sure it is over 75 that people have to have a medical checkup before their birthday each year, as well as a practical driving test over 85. I suspect this because I also believe that while my FIL has passed the medical, it is because he lives in a country town and his doctor gives him the tick because he knows how badly he needs his licence.......we know he will probably lose it when he turns 85 in a couple of years, and I know how much that is going to gut him.



Personally, I think 55 is too young - you guys don't realise how young 55 really actually is. My husband is looking 50 down a barrel, and his faculties are the same as yours, I don't see 55 as an issue at all. I'm with those who suggest either EVERY adult get retested at regular times, OR around 70 as the age at which we start having physical assessments, and regular testing.

Sal - posted on 02/18/2011

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hubby gets very shitty with old drivers who aren't driving well as often they are as pig headed as a teen driver in that they are good drivers, 'I've been driving for 40 years and never had an accident" yep but how many have you seen in the rear view mirror??? in new south wales people have to go for a test every few years after a certain age (not exactly sure what age though) it is an ok system except that ike teens going for their first test, they are nervous and can fail when they are basically safe other wise, but then too scared to redo the test, i do think everyone should have to do at least the computer rules test when they get the licence renewed as the rules are always changing, or everytime you get a fine you have to sit an safty test- that might stop speeding and such as people don't often mind paying the fine but to take time out to do something else is not convienient so they might think twice...,

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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I have also seen elderly take up 2 lanes of traffic...literally driving down the middle lane...I guess they could not tell???? Like I said, beings that most of these ideas will not happen, do we call the police when we see elderly reckless driving, or do we turn the other cheek?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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I can understand how it would be ageism...but I have also seen more elderly people driving that maybe shouldn't than younger generations. I would be fine with the periodic testing of youth, to the more frequent with age. After all, it would be terrible if my family was in a fatal accident becouse someone elderly was driving and didn't see us...or lost control of the car due to a medical condtion...or was just swerving around not even realizing they keep switching lanes...

Bonnie - posted on 02/18/2011

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The elderly have to take a test here, but I think the age is set at 80. I'm not sure if it is flexible at all. I think it would help if it was a bit sooner, maybe 70.

Tara - posted on 02/18/2011

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I agree with Mary. Across the board testing for everyone at regular intervals. As well I think it should be mandatory that ER doctors report people who come into the ER saying they have been blacking out, or they are having difficulty seeing properly etc.
I know family doctors are obligated to tell their patients they should not be driving and I think they are supposed to notify the ministry of transportation but making it mandatory that ER doctors do the same would help keep people off the road at least temporarily until their condition is resolved.
This stems from a woman I know who was having spells where she would black out, fall down and remain out for over a minute at a time. This went on for over 3 weeks once every couple of days. She went to see the ER doctor because she didn't want to go directly to her her own doctor. The ER doctor did not tell her not to drive until it was resolved, just not to drive herself home from the hospital.
Well the next day she went out and blacked out while parking her car in a near empty parking lot. She was backing up when it happened and her van just backed into a brick wall and stayed in reverse until she woke up again. Had she gone to her own doctor he would have told her not to drive, had she been on the highway or had her kids in the car it would have been really really bad.

Krista - posted on 02/18/2011

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That makes sense. Should the intervals vary though, depending on the person's age, due to the possibility of deteriorating vision, hearing or reflexes in seniors? Maybe a 20 year old only needs to be tested every 10 years. Maybe a 90 year old needs to be tested every year.

Mary - posted on 02/18/2011

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Well, we do currently allow people with various physical limitations that have no relation to aging drive; for example, you can be profoundly deaf, and still obtain a license.

I'm not against retesting people...I just think if we are going to do it, it should be done to EVERYone at regular intervals, across the board.

[deleted account]

I think that anyone over the age of 65 should take a yearly driver exam to prove that they can still drive. If they can't pass then they don't get to renew their license. I know my dad would be fine with that. However, he would be beyond ticked if you took his license just because he was old.

Brandi - posted on 02/18/2011

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I think you should have to take a driving test every 10 years, eh maybe 20 years after you initially get your license.

Krista - posted on 02/18/2011

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And I do understand that it's incredibly hard for people to be told they can no longer drive. I get that.

But what's the alternative? Let incapable drivers continue driving so that we don't hurt their feelings?

Mary - posted on 02/18/2011

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Krista, this may sound silly to you, but if you've ever known an older person who has been told they are no longer safe to drive, you might think that comparison is not all that ludicrous.

I watched what it did to my grandfather...he felt demoralized, chastised, and emasculated. It is not just the loss of independence...it is also being told (no matter how gently) that you are incapable and incompetent. It simply crushed him, and his spirit.

Mary - posted on 02/18/2011

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I think many of you are in for a rude awakening when you hit 65.
It's really easy to sit here, in your 20's, 30's, or 40's, and say that your capabilities should be challenged just because of your age.

The only way this could not be ageism is if we mandated retesting for ALL drivers every 5 years, starting from the first time you pass the test.

I'm not denying that there are some people whose driving skills deteriorate as they age...but who knows for sure if age is the culprit, or if they were just shitty drivers their whole life? I encounter crappy, dangerous drivers on a regular basis...and the bulk of them don't appear to be elderly (or even teens, for that matter).

Krista - posted on 02/18/2011

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Mike, are you seriously comparing taking away someone's driver's license to forcibly sterilizing them? Seriously?

Sharon - posted on 02/18/2011

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But the elderly driver proved at least once in their life they were capable of driving. The retarded girl in the other post has never even done that. Why the double standard?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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What a horrible way to live your life becouse of someones resistence to give up driving. I am so sorry about your husband Kati. I hope he heals emotiionally from this physical disability.

Rosie - posted on 02/18/2011

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yes, YES, YES!!!! i think starting around 65 they should do actual driving tests, and the people at the DMV should not be letting every blind, and deaf old lady through to go get her shiny new license. it irritates the hell out of me. last time i was there, and old man couldn't even see where the vision screen thingy was let alone the things on the screen, and the dumb bitch passed him. grrrrr.....

my hubby was hit by a 74 year old woman, who crossed the center line, hitting him head on. he broke both of his legs, his right ankle and left hip. he was wheelchair bound for 2 months, walked with crutches for like 3 months, got a cane, and walked on that for 4 months. he won't ever be able to run, jump, ride a bike, play rough football with his 3 boys, go to a themepark, a zoo, anyplace that requires long walks. it has put a strain on our marriage, it's made him miserable, and the old bat that hit him KNEW she shouldn't of been driving. my husband is 28 years old, 24 at the time of his accident, and has arthritis. i'm very bitter about elderly drivers. too many of them should not be on the road, we need to weed out the ones that shouldn't be.

Krista - posted on 02/18/2011

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With a pilot's license, you have to go through a full medical every 5 years or so.

So with a driver's license, I see no issue with making everybody over 50 bring a note of certification from an optometrist or opthamologist, and making everybody over 65 do that, PLUS a half-hour driving test to ensure that they're still capable drivers. I don't know about the US, but here, licenses renew every 5 years, so it's not that onerous a task for people. And really people should be getting their eyes tested regularly at that age anyway, even if they have no history of vision problems.

Jocelyn - posted on 02/18/2011

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Starting at 65, they should have to go thru both a drivers test and a physical examination (including vision) every 2 years in order to renew their license. After 75, it should be increased to testing every one year.

Sharon - posted on 02/18/2011

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LOL the retarded should bear as many kids as they want even if it is proven they can't take care of their child. But we MUST STOP THE ELDERLY FROM DRIVING!



ROTFLMFAO!!!

Sarah - posted on 02/18/2011

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I think 55 is a bit early......how about 65?? lol

The eye test thing, it should definitely be checked regularly! Can't believe it isn't!

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