The ability of cataract surgery to restore sight is well known and a new study suggests that it can make people 48 per cent safer on the road.
Cataracts are normal consequences of aging. They happen gradually over years, as the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy.
Cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens.
“The results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older adult drivers,” said study author Jonathon Ng, from the University of Western Australia.
For the findings, presented at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the research team tested the driving performance of 44 patients before they had cataract surgery.
The driving simulator assessed a variety of variables: adjusted speed limits, traffic densities, uncontrolled intersections and pedestrian crossings.
Patients were put through the driving simulator after their first surgery and again after the second eye surgery.
After the first, near misses and crashes decreased by 35 per cent; after the second surgery, the number fell to 48 per cent.
“While visual acuity – how well one sees the eye chart – is an important method to assess a person’s fitness to drive, it’s an incomplete assessment,” Ng said.
“Quality of vision is also an important indicator. Improved contrast sensitivity and better night vision improves drivers’ safety on the road,” the study author added.
When considering cataract surgery, the researchers revealed some points to be considered: Can you see to safely do your job and to drive?, Do you have problems reading or watching TV? Is it difficult to cook, shop? Do bright lights make is harder to see? (IANS)