Cataract surgery can help make you a safer driver

In the journals

If you have put off cataract surgery, consider this: the procedure could make you a safer driver, according to research presented in October 2019 at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Cataracts, in which the lenses of the eyes become cloudy, are a normal part of aging. Vision changes due to cataracts occur slowly, so people often don't realize they have trouble seeing at night and struggle with depth perception. While cataract surgery is low-risk and effective, many people avoid it because they feel their cataracts don't interfere with their quality of life.

Australian researchers tested the effect of vision on driving performance in 44 people before they had cataract surgery for both eyes. Using a driving simulator, the people responded to such challenges as traffic, intersections, pedestrian crossings, and changes in speed limits.

After surgery on one eye, the group was retested, and crashes and near misses decreased by 35%. After both eyes were corrected, the number dropped by 48%. The findings suggest that cataracts may pose a potential danger that many drivers do not perceive.

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