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Drivers with hemianopia fail to detect pedestrians
Date:3/14/2014

anopia typically looked to the left first," Bowers said.

However, the drivers with hemianopia did not compensate by making larger head scans to the side of their field loss, as needed. In fact, their head scans were generally smaller than those of drivers with normal vision. "Yet, you might have expected the opposite as drivers with hemianopia have to scan a long way (close to 90 degrees) in order to see of all of the intersection on the side of their field loss," Bowers said.

Drivers with hemianopia, especially drivers with right hemianopia, had low detection rates for pedestrians that appeared on the side of their field loss. Analyses of the head scans at these intersections revealed that the detection failures were either because the driver never scanned to the side of their field loss, or because they scanned, but not far enough, Bowers said.

"We might have expected that drivers with hemianopia would have had lower rates of failing to scan than drivers with normal vision, but this wasn't the case," Bowers said.

The findings suggest that, although there is evidence of compensation for the hemifield loss in some aspects of their scanning at intersections, the scanning patterns employed by some drivers with hemianopia may be insufficient for safe driving. Based on these individual responses, some drivers might benefit from training tailored to the specific problem areas identified in the study, Bowers noted.

She went on to summarize, "Our results underscore the importance of individualized evaluations for people with hemianopia who wish to resume driving. While some of the participants in our study frequently did not head scan to the side of their field loss, others always scanned to that side. Individualized assessments are an important component of the special provisions (regulations) that enable drivers with visual field loss to demonstrate their ability to drive safely in specialized road tests in other countrie
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Contact: Mary Leach
Mary_Leach@meei.harvard.edu
617-573-4170
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Source:Eurekalert  

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