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Can a standard vision test predict nighttime driving performance?
Date:4/10/2012

recognized that a pedestrian was present 52.1% of the time and those with simulated cataracts recognized pedestrians only 29.9% of the time. The research team found that pedestrians wearing the reflective strips to create the biomotion condition were much more visible to drivers (82.3% of the time) than those wearing all black (13.5% of the time). Whether glare was present or not, none of the drivers with simulated cataracts recognized the pedestrian wearing black.

The results also show how these impairments reduce the distances at which drivers first recognize the presence of pedestrians at night. In the experiment, drivers with normal vision recognized pedestrians at longer distances: on average 3.6 times longer than drivers with blurred condition and 5.5 times longer than drivers with cataract conditions.

According to the researchers, the results have important implications and suggest that in order to maximize drivers' ability to see pedestrians from a safe distance, they should wear their optimum optical corrective lenses and cataract surgery should be performed early enough to avoid potentially dangerous driving conditions.

"Future studies should further explore the impact of uncorrected refractive error, cataracts and other forms of visual impairment on driving performance and safety as well as determine the value of some relatively new ways to measure visual abilities, such as straylight testing and contrast sensitivity," suggests Wood. "It is possible that measuring only visual acuity does not provide us with the best way to determine who is safe to drive."


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Contact: Katrina Norfleet
knorfleet@arvo.org
240-221-2924
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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