As the population ages, more people will be wearing presbyopic vision corrections when driving. However, little is known about the impact of these vision corrections on driving performance. This study aimed to determine the subjective driving difficulties experienced when wearing a range of common presbyopic contact lens and spectacle corrections.
A questionnaire was developed and piloted that included a series of items regarding difficulties experienced while driving under daytime and nighttime conditions (rated on five-point and seven-point Likert scales). Participants included 255 presbyopic patients recruited through local optometry practices. Participants were categorized into five age-matched groups; including those wearing no vision correction for driving (n = 50), bifocal spectacles (n = 54), progressive spectacles (n = 50), monovision contact lenses (n = 53), and multifocal contact lenses (n = 48).
Overall, ratings of satisfaction during daytime driving were relatively high for all correction types. However, multifocal contact lens wearers were significantly less satisfied with aspects of their vision during nighttime than daytime driving, particularly regarding disturbances from glare and haloes. Progressive spectacle lens wearers noticed more distortion of peripheral vision, whereas bifocal spectacle wearers reported more difficulties with tasks requiring changes of focus and those who wore no optical correction for driving reported problems with intermediate and near tasks. Overall, satisfaction was significantly higher for progressive spectacles than bifocal spectacles for driving.
Subjective visual experiences of different presbyopic vision corrections when driving vary depending on the vision tasks and lighting level. Eye-care practitioners should be aware of the driving-related difficulties experienced with each vision correction type and the need to select corrective types that match the driving needs of their patients.