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Fewer crashes among older drivers following cataract surgery

Australian researchers observed a significant reduction in motor vehicle accidents among more than 2800 older drivers after cataract surgery

A person driving a car

Scientists in Western Australia have found a significant reduction in crash rates among older drivers following cataract surgery.

Writing in Age and Ageingthe authors highlighted that first eye cataract surgery was associated with a 61% reduction in crash frequency among a group of 2849 drivers aged 60 and older.

Second eye cataract surgery was also connected with a 23% reduction in vehicle accidents in the study population.

Both reductions were in comparison to crash frequency in the year leading up to an individual's first cataract surgery.

The estimated cost savings from the reduction in accidents in the year following second eye surgery compared to the year preceding first eye cataract surgery was $14.9 million (£8.1).

The authors emphasise that while first eye cataract surgery has the greatest impact on crash rates, second eye cataract surgery is also associated with a significant reduction in accidents.

“These results provide encouragement for the timely provision of first and second eye cataract surgery for older drivers,” they concluded.

Another related study published in BMC Geriatrics described the results of a survey of 55 drivers with bilateral cataracts aged aged 55 and older.

The researchers investigated the impact of first and second eye cataract surgery on driver self-regulation to compensate for visual decline.

They found that older drivers were 70% less likely to self-regulate in at least one driving situation following first eye cataract surgery.

By the time drivers received second eye cataract surgery, they were 90% less likely to self-regulate their driving. The authors emphasised that the study illustrates how cataract surgery has the potential to enhance the mobility and independence of older drivers.