09.02.2009

Driving with cataracts "an increasing problem"

Driving with cataracts "an increasing problem"

With the world"s population getting increasingly aged, experts have warned that the number of road accidents being caused by a driver"s poor eyesight is likely to rise steadily.

According to new research carried out by the specialists at the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, motorists suffering from cataracts are less able to spot potentially hazardous situations while behind the wheel.

Specifically, studies carried out by the team found that the condition left drivers less capable of anticipating dangerous situations, largely through a relative lack of contrast perception.

At the same time, statistics compiled for the research found that drivers in the United States who had benefitted from cataracts surgery were 50 per cent less likely to be involved in a road accident than those drivers with the condition who elected against such a procedure.

Significantly, given that the number of people in the US and Australia who have undergone cataract surgery has risen by 478 per cent and 300 per cent respectively over the past ten years, the study concludes that governments should consider making eyesight tests compulsory for drivers over the age of 60.

Late last year, the Association of Chiefs of Police Officers (ACPO) called for the introduction of regular check-ups among British drivers.

by Martin Burns


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