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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 41 Number 3a, May/June 2004
Pages 347 — 358


Abstract - Relationship of retinal structural and clinical vision parameters to driving performance of diabetic retinopathy patients
Janet P. Szlyk, PhD; Carolyn L. Mahler, MS; William Seiple, PhD; Thasarat S. Vajaranant, MD;
Norman P. Blair, MD; Mahnaz Shahidi, PhD
Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Chicago Health Care System, West Side Division, Chicago, IL; Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL; Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Abstract — This study identifies clinical vision measures or retinal structural measures associated with the driving performance of diabetic retinopathy patients. Twenty-five licensed drivers with diabetic retinopathy (median age, 53 years; range, 34-72 years) completed clinical tests (visual acuity, letter contrast sensitivity, and Humphrey 30-2 visual fields) and structural examinations (retinal thickness analysis and fundus photograph grading of retinopathy and laser scarring). Driving performance was assessed with an interactive driving simulator and a driving history questionnaire. Increased retinal thickness was significantly correlated with a higher frequency of simulator accidents and near accidents. Laser scar grades significantly correlated with steeper brake-response slopes, increased brake-pressure standard deviation (SD), and longer response times. Subjects with focal laser scars had significantly higher average brake-pedal pressure and brake-pressure SD than subjects without focal laser scars. Retinal thickness and laser scarring correlated with driving simulator performance in subjects with diabetic retinopathy.

Key words: diabetic retinopathy, driving, laser scarring, retinal thickness.

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