The effect of simulated cataracts on drivers' hazard perception ability

Marrington, Shelby, Horswill, Mark, & Wood, Joanne M. (2008) The effect of simulated cataracts on drivers' hazard perception ability. Optometry and Vision Science, 85(12), pp. 1121-1127.

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Purpose. We investigated the extent to which simulated cataracts slow a driver's ability to anticipate potential traffic hazards, a skill that has been found to correlate with crash risk. in previous studies, we found a significant correlation between contrast sensitivity and hazard perception in a sample of older drivers. The present study allowed us to determine the causal direction of this relationship. This is important as it provides a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the higher crash risk of drivers with cataracts.

Methods. One hundred eighty-six drivers with normal vision completed a validated video-based hazard perception driving test, designed to measure hazard anticipation response times in dynamic scenes. They also completed a change detection task based on traffic hazards, which was designed to measure object detection times in static scenes. Participants undertook the tasks wearing either mild or moderate cataract simulation goggles, or wearing goggle frames without lenses.

Results. Participants wearing moderate simulated cataract goggles were slower than the control group in both the hazard perception test, t(98.50) = -3.71, p < 0.001, and the hazard change detection task, t(124) = -13.86, p < 0.001. participants with the mild Simulated cataract goggles were slower than the control group in the hazard change detection task, t(114) = -4.04, p < 0.001, but not the hazard perception test, t(114) = -1.33, p = 0.19.

Conclusions. Moderate levels of simulated cataract slowed drivers' ability to detect and anticipate traffic hazards enough to warrant road safety concerns, despite the fact that the vision of participants wearing the cataract goggles still complied with the minimum legal standard required for driving.

Impact and interest:

20 citations in Scopus
20 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 19046
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published version is freely accessible on journal website. See "official URL" above.
Keywords: Cataracts, Driving, Hazard perception, Change detection, Contrast sensitivity, Static visual acuity
DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31818e8d00
ISSN: 1040-5488
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Optometry
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2009 22:16
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:28

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