Older drivers and cataracts. Measures of driving performance before and after cataract surgery
Keywords150703 Road Transportation and Freight Services
111300 OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY
111303 Vision Science
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AbstractCataracts are the main cause of reversible vision impairment in older adults. An investigation examined how cataracts and cataract surgery affected driving performance and determined whether any changes in driving performance could be predicted by self-reported perceptions of driving and vision. Twenty-eight older participants with bilateral cataracts and eighteen age-matched control participants with normal vision were tested. All were licensed drivers. Driving and vision performance were measured before cataract surgery, after first-eye surgery, and again after second-eye surgery for the cataract participants and on three separate occasions for the control group. Driving performance was assessed on a closed-road circuit. Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity were also measured at each test session. Self-perceptions of vision and driving were assessed with the Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS). The participants with cataracts had significantly poorer (p < .05) driving performance at the first visit compared with the control participants for a range of measures of driving performance, which significantly improved to the level of the control participants following cataract extraction. Self-perceived changes in driving performance assessed with the ADVS were not strongly related to the actual changes in driving performance recorded. Together these findings indicate that participants with cataracts have poorer driving and vision performance than age-matched control participants and that cataract surgery can result in significant improvements in driving, which are not predicted by self-reported measures such as the ADVS.