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Drivers With Advanced Glaucoma Twice As Likely To Have A Car Accident

A fairly common degenerative disease, glaucoma is the second most leading cause of blindness worldwide, and affects over 2.7 million middle age and older Americans. A recent study in Japan has demonstrated that drivers with advanced glaucoma are twice as likely to have car accident than drivers with normal vision. The results suggest a visual test for peripheral vision ability should be instituted for older drivers.

The vision test was conducted at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, in Sendai, Japan. Two groups of 36 people each were compared on a driving simulator; these groups were matched in age, gender, driving experience, and other variables. The only difference was in vision—one group had normal vision, the other had advanced glaucoma. The most frequent accident, for both groups, was when something appeared abruptly out of the periphery (child, car, moving object); the glaucoma patients’ rate for these accidents was twice as high as the control group’s.

Glaucoma restricts peripheral vision, and, if left untreated, damages the optic nerve and causes blindness. Many people have mild glaucoma and do not realize it, as the disease is painless and progresses very slowly. Peripheral vision is extremely important when driving; it informs a driver of the flow of traffic, keeps them in the right lane, signals stop lights, and keeps track of pedestrians, street signs, other vehicles, and other obstacles. The Japanese study’s findings have the potential to save lives on roadways. A stringent visual field test that addresses peripheral vision would screen out glaucoma patients—and hopefully get them to the medical care they needed to maintain the rest of their vision, and drive safely again—and prevent accidents, and deaths.

Internationally, health officials continue to find ways to keep the roads safe; the world population is aging and staying alive longer now than ever before in human history, and so traffic safety for the elderly, as a growing population, is a new problem. In the US, states choose their own visual field test requirements; 12 out of the 51 US driving jurisdictions restrict licenses for people with visual impairments, but the tests vary greatly, and many are comprised of a simple eye chart reading, focused straight ahead. Some states make it mandatory for visually impaired drivers to install extra mirrors on their vehicle. It’s hoped the results of this Japanese study will instigate further changes towards greater safety.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Mike Agruss Law, for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident. Mike Agruss Law, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.

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