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Florentina J. Freiberg, Eugen Gramer, Constantin Reiter, Gwendolyn Gramer; Estimation of the Frequency of Loss of Driving Ability due to Visual Impairment in Germany. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5516.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The percentage of patients in a private ophthalmology practice (PP) unable to drive is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate how many glaucoma (GL) patients lost driving ability due to visual field loss (VFL) only and how many patients had any visual impairment (VI) requiring an informed consent not to drive.
I: In a hospital based study 2170 patients with GL or ocular hypertension, visual field (VF) findings were staged into 4 groups: 1.No VFL, 2. beginning VFL (stage I-II, Aulhorn classification), 3. moderate VFL (stage III-IV), 4. severe VFL (stage V). Patients with bilateral VFL stage III-V were classified as unable to drive, patients with no VFL in one and VFL I-V in the other eye were classified as able to drive. All other constellations were classified as questionable to drive. VFL in GL was the only criteria to judge driving ability. II: In a PP based study, 61 German ophthalmologists working in 4 different cities answered the following questions: 1. How high is the estimated relative frequency of GL patients with severe bilateral VFL? 2. How high is the estimated number of patients with any eye disease requiring an informed consent not to drive per quarter of a year? 3. Based on the reported number of patients treated per quarter of a year, the average relative frequency of all patients with any VI unable to drive was calculated.
I. GL: The proportion of patients unable to drive due to VFL only, was 11,7% in hospital vs. 7,58% in PP. II. The mean relative frequency of all patients in PP with any VI requiring an informed consent not to drive was 2,05%. The average relative frequencies for GL and all VI in the 4 cities showed no relevant differences.
Due to VI, 2,05% of patients seen in PP lost driving ability. The number of driver’s license holders (DLH) amongst these patients is unknown.The number of undetected cases with VI relevant for road safety is also unknown, since not all DLH undergo complete ophthalmologic examination. An FDT VF screening, free of charge and under full confidentiality, should be provided for all DLH at the mandatory car testing in Germany every second year. The hereby-obtained FDT printout is to state whether VF is normal or outside normal limits thus requiring further eye check.
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