Driving with Glaucoma
Glaucoma patients are at least five times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash compared with others in the same age group, despite meeting legal driving requirements, a new study has found.
Researchers from Wills Eye Hospital (WEH) in Philadelphia examined the crash rate of glaucoma patients.
The study considered patients’ ability to conduct normal daily activities, such as reading street signs and finding objects on a crowded shelf. Each year, patients were asked if they were, as a driver, involved in a vehicle accident the previous year.
Dr John Myers “What we found was between 5% and 10% of these glaucoma patients were involved in motor vehicle accidents each year despite still having vision good enough to legally qualify for driving” This compares to a 1.1% crash rate for drivers of a similar age without Glaucoma.
It appears that when we develop Glaucoma, we lose some of our peripheral vision and create significant blind spots. This then becomes a liability for driving.
Driving is essential for independent living, and with an aging population it is a problem we are going to have to deal with unless we monitor glaucoma carefully.
In Australia, glaucoma is now one of the most common reasons for driving cessation, with a 3.6 times increased crash risk, largely connected to visual field loss.