Bilateral cataract surgery and driving performance

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Background:Cataract surgery is one of the most common medical procedures undertaken worldwide.Aims:To investigate whether cataract surgery can improve driving performance and whether this can be predicted by changes in visual function.Methods:29 older patients with bilateral cataracts and 18 controls with normal vision were tested. All were licensed drivers. Driving and vision performance were measured before cataract surgery and after second eye surgery for the patients with cataract and on two separate occasions for the controls. Driving performance was assessed on a closed-road circuit. Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, glare sensitivity and kinetic visual fields were measured at each test session.Results:Patients with cataract had significantly poorer (p<0.05) driving performance at the first visit than the controls for a range of measures of driving performance, which significantly improved to the level of the controls after extraction of both cataracts. The change in contrast sensitivity after surgery was the best predictor of the improvements in driving performance in patients with cataract.Conclusions:Cataract surgery results in marked improvements in driving performance, which are related to concurrent improvements in contrast sensitivity.

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