Is Driving Performance Impacted in Younger Patients with Glaucoma?

A study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology observed that young and middle-aged patients with glaucoma with binocular visual field loss suffered from a longer delay of response in a driving simulation test.

The study included 19 patients with glaucoma who were recruited from the Glaucoma Clinic Database of the Eye and ENT Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, China between May 2013 and April 2018. Nine patients had passed the binocular Esterman visual field test, while 10 had failed the test. Patients with glaucoma were age-matched with 10 healthy controls. All participants were 45 years or younger and had a valid driver’s license.

All participants underwent a general eye examination, including binocular visual acuity test, slit-lamp biomicroscopy, and ophthalmoscopy. A driving simulation test was designed as a frequency-based analysis of a lane-keeping task. The test simulated steering a virtual vehicle down a straight lane, at the speed of 43.2 km per hour, over a textured ground plane while facing crosswind perturbation to the vehicle’s direction of movement. Researchers calculated total performance error, control-response amplitude, and delay.

The group that failed the Esterman visual field test showed the longest delay of control-response among three groups (P=0.02). This group also had significantly worse visual function (P<0.01). Delay in lane-keeping task was significantly associated with inferior field of better-eye (P=0.004) and integrated visual field (P=0.002).

“The information provides a first step toward counseling [patients with] glaucoma in China to pay attention to their driving safety,” the researchers concluded.