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Fiona Fylan, Amy Hughes, David B Elliott, Joanne M Wood; Why do people drive when they can’t see clearly?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):4464.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Refractive blur is associated with decreased hazard perception and impairments in driving performance. We conducted an explorative qualitative focus group study to investigate why drivers who have spectacles to correct their distance vision choose to drive uncorrected.
Participants were 30 current drivers (mean age 45, ± 11 yrs, 18 females) who reported having driven uncorrected at least twice in the past 6 months despite having distance vision spectacles. Refractive correction was determined by lensometry and binocular visual acuity using a logMAR chart. Participants included 16 myopes and 4 (17%) did not reach minimum UK driving standard when uncorrected (<20/40). We ran 6 focus groups, each with 5 participants, and discussions covered experiences of wearing spectacles, advice from eye health practitioners about driving, and reasons for not wearing spectacles when driving. Focus groups lasted an hour and were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed thematically using the methods of Braun and Clarke (2006).
We identified 3 themes in the data. 1. Responsibility: participants viewed driving with clear vision as a responsibility, likened driving without clear vision to drink driving, and highlighted that it puts others at risk and invalidates driving insurance policies. Despite this they did not feel obliged to drive with optimal vision. 2. Safe Enough: participants felt safe to drive uncorrected, did not believe they need to wear spectacles to see sufficiently clearly and that they would know if their uncorrected eyesight fails to meet minimum standards (despite being unaware of the legal standards). Where participants recalled advice from eye health practitioners about driving it was that driving with spectacles was benefiticial but not necessary. 3. Situations: participants discussed how they would drive uncorrected for short and familiar journeys, when they feel alert, in daylight and good weather. Some drive without spectacles when socialising, when their spectacles cause discomfort, in bright sunlight when they prefer to wear non-prescription sunglasses, and at night if they experience glare.
Participants’ beliefs that it is not necessary to drive with the best vision possible, together with them underestimating the legal standards, leads them to drive uncorrected. The results suggest that more direct advice about the need to wear visual correction for driving needs to be provided.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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