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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Jul;49(7):3035-41. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-1609. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

Glaucoma and on-road driving performance.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



To investigate the on-road driving performance of patients with glaucoma.


The sample comprised 20 patients with glaucoma and 20 subjects with normal vision, all licensed drivers, matched for age and sex. Driving performance was tested over a 10-km route incorporating 55 standardized maneuvers and skills through residential and business districts of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Testing was conducted by a professional driving instructor and assessed by an occupational therapist certified in driver rehabilitation, masked to participant group membership and level of vision. Main outcome measures were total number of satisfactory maneuvers and skills, overall rating, and incidence of at-fault critical interventions (application of the dual brake and/or steering override by the driving instructor to prevent a potentially unsafe maneuver). Measures of visual function included visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual fields (Humphrey Field Analyzer; Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc., Dublin, CA; mean deviation [MD] and binocular Esterman points).


There was no significant difference between patients with glaucoma (mean MD = -1.7 dB [SD 2.2] and -6.5 dB [SD 4.9], better and worse eyes, respectively) and control subjects in total satisfactory maneuvers and skills (P = 0.65), or overall rating (P = 0.60). However, 12 (60%) patients with glaucoma had one or more at-fault critical interventions, compared with 4 (20%) control subjects (odds ratio = 6.00, 95% CI, 1.46-24.69; higher still after adjustment for age, sex, medications and driving exposure), the predominant reason being failure to see and yield to a pedestrian. In the glaucoma group, worse-eye MD was associated with the overall rating of driving (r = 0.66, P = 0.002).


This sample of patients with glaucoma with slight to moderate visual field impairment performed many real-world driving maneuvers safely. However, they were six times as likely as subjects with normal vision to have a driving instructor intervene for reasons suggesting difficulty with detection of peripheral obstacles and hazards and reaction to unexpected events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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