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Alexandra R. Bowers, Matthew Bronstad, Amanda Albu, Robert B. Goldstein, Eli Peli; Effects of Age and Central Field Loss on Detection Failures at Intersections. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):1196.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We are conducting a study to evaluate the impact of central field loss (CFL) on detection of hazards when driving (Bronstad, 2009; Albu, ARVO 2010) Here we focus on the effects of age and CFL on detection failures at intersections.
Sixteen people with binocular CFL (VA 20/40 to 20/200; 71 ± 13 years) and 13 age-similar (70 ± 14 years) drivers with normal vision (NV) completed about 120 minutes of driving in a high-fidelity simulator. Detection rates were determined for life-size pedestrians that appeared just before the driver executed a left or right turn at 10 pre-determined intersections. The pedestrian could appear at one of four locations: either extreme left or right (at the far edges of the sight triangle), or center left or right (on the opposite side of the intersection). Head-scanning patterns on approach and during the turn were recorded with a light-weight, head-mounted IR tracker.
Detection rates for the left and right center pedestrians were relatively high in both groups (> 80%). However, detection rates for the extreme pedestrians were significantly lower in the CFL group than the NV group (extreme left: 20% and 44%, respectively, p = 0.003; extreme right: 60% and 80%, p = 0.05). By comparison, detection rates of a younger NV group (51 ± 13 years; Bowers, 2009) were 88% for both the extreme left and right pedestrians. For NV drivers, detection rates decreased with increasing age (r = -0.67, p = 0.015; data pooled across all pedestrian locations). However, within the CFL group, the age effect was not significant (r = -0.24, p = 0.38).
Our results suggest that both age and CFL have adverse effects on detection of pedestrians on the extreme right and, in particular, the extreme left of intersections. The extent to which detection failures are related to head scanning failures or reduced head-scan amplitudes are being evaluated in ongoing analyses.
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