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Drivers with Glaucoma at an increased risk for Car Accidents

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Street traffic - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A study conducted in Japan found that people with glaucoma had around twice as many accidents compared to a person with normal vision when using a driving simulator. The study results were presented today at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which this year has been joined with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

Around 2.7 million Americans over the age 40 have glaucoma. Many people may not be aware that they have the disease because the vision loss is gradual and painless. Left untreated, the person can become blind. First they lose peripheral vision, but eventually the optic nerve can become damaged.

Glaucoma is an age-related eye disease that can affect a person’s ability to see peripherally. The person can often see well with their central vision, but not along the sides. The current vision tests for obtaining a driver’s license in most countries does not test the side vision; only the central vision. This means that a person with glaucoma could pass the vision test to drive a car.

The researchers studied 72 people, 36 had normal vision and the other half had advanced glaucoma. The tests took place at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, in Sendai, Japan, using a driving simulator. The groups were matched in age, driving ability, and other ways.

The group with glaucoma had over twice as many collisions compared to the normal-eyesight group. The glaucoma group’s common accident scene involved a child, car, or other object that would enter from the side. Their lack of peripheral vision interfered with their ability to see the objects entering from the side.

Shiho Kunimatsu-Sanuki, M.D., lead researcher on the study, suggested that mandatory vision testing guidelines should be implemented for drivers with glaucoma because it would help save lives.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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