By Jamie Chang, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Having a vehicle population of more than 600 000 vehicles, Singapore has to pay close attention to the rate of accidents occurring on the streets. Dr Alex Black, Senior Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia, discussed on the correlation between “Vision and Driving” during the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2019 between 23-24 July 2019 at One Farrer Hotel, Singapore.

Dr Black highlighted the various factors affecting driving performance such as the age, visual function and ocular disease. Driving has challenging visual demands where one has to monitor and process large amounts of visual information from the driving environment and lighting in addition to the high traffic density.

Especially with the ageing population of Singapore, there is a wide plethora of challenges faced by older people which include a slower reaction time, physical frailty, increased prevalence of systemic disease, eye diseases and visual changes

He focused on how our vision deteriorates with age – decreased retinal luminance and image quality, slowing of visual processing and increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. These changes further impair the visual functions relevant to driving such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual fields, motion and glare sensitivity.

Delving deeper into age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Dr Black noted that AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in older adults. Drivers with AMD are advised to avoid challenging driving situations and reduce their driving exposure or cease driving entirely. He also highlighted that myopes have a 22% higher risk of crash involvement as optical blur slows reaction times for hazard detection. This is hence unsurprising that uncorrected refractive error is the leading cause of reversible visual impairment worldwide.

Patients are often unaware of their changes in vision and driving performance which poses a hazard on the roads. Therefore, the onus is on eye care professionals to properly inform patients on their visual standards for driving and how their eye conditions might impact their driving performance and safety so that patients can modify their driving habits accordingly. Only through the appropriate advice and recommendations given can roads become safer.

By Jamie Chang, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Having a vehicle population of more than 600 000 vehicles, Singapore has to pay close attention to the rate of accidents occurring on the streets. Dr Alex Black, Senior Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia, discussed on the correlation between “Vision and Driving” during the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2019 between 23-24 July 2019 at One Farrer Hotel, Singapore.

Dr Black highlighted the various factors affecting driving performance such as the age, visual function and ocular disease. Driving has challenging visual demands where one has to monitor and process large amounts of visual information from the driving environment and lighting in addition to the high traffic density.

Especially with the ageing population of Singapore, there is a wide plethora of challenges faced by older people which include a slower reaction time, physical frailty, increased prevalence of systemic disease, eye diseases and visual changes

He focused on how our vision deteriorates with age – decreased retinal luminance and image quality, slowing of visual processing and increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. These changes further impair the visual functions relevant to driving such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual fields, motion and glare sensitivity.

Delving deeper into age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Dr Black noted that AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in older adults. Drivers with AMD are advised to avoid challenging driving situations and reduce their driving exposure or cease driving entirely. He also highlighted that myopes have a 22% higher risk of crash involvement as optical blur slows reaction times for hazard detection. This is hence unsurprising that uncorrected refractive error is the leading cause of reversible visual impairment worldwide.

Patients are often unaware of their changes in vision and driving performance which poses a hazard on the roads. Therefore, the onus is on eye care professionals to properly inform patients on their visual standards for driving and how their eye conditions might impact their driving performance and safety so that patients can modify their driving habits accordingly. Only through the appropriate advice and recommendations given can roads become safer.