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Near misses and crashes on driving simulator halve following cataract surgery

Australian researchers have investigated the impact of cataract surgery on driving performance

14 Oct 2019 by Selina Powell

Researchers have examined how cataract surgery affects driving performance by observing study participants use a driving simulator before and after cataract surgery.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (12–15 October, San Francisco).

Scientists from the University of Western Australia tested the performance of 44 patients on a driving simulator before they had cataract surgery.

Patients then used the simulator after their first and second cataract surgeries.

The researchers report that the number of near misses and crashes using the driving simulator decreased by 35% following cataract surgery and was 48% lower after cataract surgery on the second eye.

Dr Jonathan Ng, from the University of Western Australia, highlighted that visual acuity alone is an incomplete method for assessing someone’s fitness to drive.

He added that improved contrast sensitivity and better night vision improve drivers’ safety on the road.

“In Australia and other countries, people may often wait months to receive government funded surgery after a cataract is diagnosed,” Dr Ng said.

“These results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older drivers,” he shared.

Image credit: Pixabay/SplitShire

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