Glaucoma and quality of life: fall and driving risk

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Numerous population-based studies suggest that glaucoma is an independent risk factor for falling and motor vehicle collisions, particularly for older adults. These adverse events lead to increased healthcare expenditures and decreased quality of life. Current research priorities, therefore, include identifying factors that predispose glaucoma patients to falling and unsafe driving, and developing screening strategies and targeted rehabilitation. The purpose of this article is to review recent studies that address these priorities.

Recent findings

Studies continue to support that glaucoma patients, particularly those with advanced disease, have an increased risk of falling or unsafe driving. Risk factors, however, remain variable and include severity and location of visual field defects, contrast sensitivity, and performance on divided attention tasks. Such variability is likely because of the multifactorial nature of ambulating and driving and compensatory strategies used by patients.

Summary

Falls and unsafe driving remain a serious public health issue for older adults with glaucoma. Ambulation and driving are complex tasks and there is no consensus yet, regarding the best methods for risk stratification and targeted interventions to increase safety. Therefore, comprehensive and individualized assessments are recommended to most effectively evaluate a patient's risk for falling or unsafe driving.

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