Glaucoma and driving: On-road driving characteristics

Academic Article

Abstract

  • This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. Purpose To comprehensively investigate the types of driving errors and locations that are most problematic for older drivers with glaucoma compared to those without glaucoma using a standardized on-road assessment. Methods Participants included 75 drivers with glaucoma (mean = 73.2±6.0 years) with mild to moderate field loss (better-eye MD = -1.21 dB; worse-eye MD = -7.75 dB) and 70 age-matched controls without glaucoma (mean = 72.6 ± 5.0 years). On-road driving performance was assessed in a dual-brake vehicle by an occupational therapist using a standardized scoring system which assessed the types of driving errors and the locations where they were made and the number of critical errors that required an instructor intervention. Driving safety was rated on a 10-point scale. Self-reported driving ability and difficulties were recorded using the Driving Habits Questionnaire. Results Drivers with glaucoma were rated as significantly less safe, made more driving errors, and had almost double the rate of critical errors than those without glaucoma. Driving errors involved lane positioning and planning/approach, and were significantly more likely to occur at traffic lights and yield/give-way intersections. There were few between group differences in self-reported driving ability. Conclusions Older drivers with glaucoma with even mild to moderate field loss exhibit impairments in driving ability, particularly during complex driving situations that involve tactical problems with lane-position, planning ahead and observation. These results, together with the fact that these drivers self-report their driving to be relatively good, reinforce the need for evidence-based on-road assessments for evaluating driving fitness.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wood JM; Black AA; Mallon K; Thomas R; Owsley C
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 7