Purpose. To investigate whether wearing different presbyopic vision corrections alters the pattern of eye and head movements when viewing and responding to driving-related traffic scenes.
Methods. Participants included 20 presbyopes (mean age: 56.1 ± 5.7 years) who had no experience of wearing presbyopic vision corrections, apart from single vision (SV) reading spectacles. Each participant wore five different vision corrections: distance SV lenses, progressive addition spectacle lenses (PAL), bifocal spectacle lenses (BIF), monovision (MV) and multifocal contact lenses (MTF CL). For each visual condition, participants were required to view videotape recordings of traffic scenes, track a reference vehicle, and identify a series of peripherally presented targets. Digital numerical display panels were also included as near visual stimuli (simulating the visual displays of a vehicle speedometer and radio). Eye and head movements were measured, and the accuracy of target recognition was also recorded.
Results. The path length of eye movements while viewing and responding to driving-related traffic scenes was significantly longer when wearing BIF and PAL than MV and MTF CL (both p ≤ 0.013). The path length of head movements was greater with SV, BIF, and PAL than MV and MTF CL (all p < 0.001). Target recognition and brake response times were not significantly affected by vision correction, whereas target recognition was less accurate when the near stimulus was located at eccentricities inferiorly and to the left, rather than directly below the primary position of gaze (p = 0.008), regardless of vision correction.
Conclusions. Different presbyopic vision corrections alter eye and head movement patterns. The longer path length of eye and head movements and greater number of saccades associated with the spectacle presbyopic corrections may affect some aspects of driving performance.
School of Optometry and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
This work was supported by a Research Capacity Building Award from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, QUT.
Received April 6, 2009; accepted July 6, 2009.