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Surv Ophthalmol. 1999 May-Jun;43(6):535-50.

Vision impairment and driving.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0009, USA.


Driving is the primary mode of travel in many countries. It facilitates the performance of routine daily activities and is thus integral with the concept of quality of life. Vision is inarguably a fundamental component of safe driving. Drivers with certain eye conditions reduce their driving exposure and restrict their driving to the safest times, yet there is preliminary evidence that some eye conditions increase the risk of crashes. Visual acuity is only weakly related to crash involvement, whereas peripheral vision appears to play a more critical role. Color vision deficiency by itself is not a threat to safe driving. Based on the current literature, it is unclear whether other types of visual sensory impairment have a significant impact on driving safety and performance. Tests of visual attention and processing speed show great promise as methods of identifying high-risk drivers. There is a serious need for well-designed studies in key practical areas, such as the safety of low-vision drivers who use bioptic telescopes, the impact of monocular vision impairment on safety, and the effectiveness of vision rescreening policies after initial licensure. For ophthalmologists to guide patients about driving fitness, valid and reliable assessment tools must be developed and made widely available.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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