Impact of Age-Related Vision Changes on Driving
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AuthorOrtiz Peregrina, Sonia; Ortiz Herrera, Carolina; Casares López, Miriam; Castro Torres, José Juan; Jiménez Del Barco Jaldo, Luis Miguel; González Anera, María Del Rosario
AgingOlder driversDriving performanceDriving performanceStraylight
Ortiz-Peregrina S, Ortiz C, Casares-López M, Castro-Torres JJ, Jiménez del Barco L, Anera RG. Impact of Age-Related Vision Changes on Driving. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(20):7416.[https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207416]
Sponsorshipministry of economy and competitiveness (spain); European Union (EU) FIS2017-85058-R; ministry of science, innovation and universities (spain) FPU15/05571
Aging leads to impaired visual function, which can affect driving—a very visually demanding task—and has a direct impact on an individual’s quality of life if their license is withdrawn. This study examined the associations between age-related vision changes and simulated driving performance. To this end, we attempted to determine the most significant visual parameters in terms of evaluating elderly drivers’ eyesight. Twenty-one younger drivers (aged 25–40) were compared to 21 older drivers (aged 56–71). Study participants were assessed for visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, halos, and intraocular straylight, which causes veiling luminance on the retina and degrades vision. Driving performance was evaluated using a driving simulator. The relationships between simulated driving performance and the visual parameters tested were examined with correlation analyses and linear regression models. Older drivers presented impairment in most visual parameters (p < 0.05), with straylight being the most significantly affected (we also measured the associated effect size). Older drivers performed significantly worse (p < 0.05) in the simulator test, with a markedly lower performance in lane stability. The results of the multiple linear regression model evidenced that intraocular straylight is the best visual parameter for predicting simulated driving performance (R2 = 0.513). Older drivers have shown significantly poorer results in several aspects of visual function, as well as difficulties in driving simulator performance. Our results suggest that the non-standardized straylight evaluation could be significant in driver assessments, especially at the onset of age-related vision changes.