Driving habits and health-related quality of life in patients with age-related maculopathy

Optom Vis Sci. 2003 Mar;80(3):207-13. doi: 10.1097/00006324-200303000-00010.


Purpose: To characterize the driving habits of persons with age-related maculopathy who present to a low-vision rehabilitation clinic and to examine how driving status relates to vision-specific health-related quality of life.

Methods: The Driving Habits Questionnaire, the National Eye Institute Vision Function Questionnaire-25, and the Life Space Questionnaire were administered via telephone interview to 126 patients with age-related maculopathy who presented to a low-vision clinic during the previous year and were either past or current drivers.

Results: Twenty-four percent of the sample reported being a current driver. Compared with those who stopped driving, current drivers were more likely to be male, younger, have better visual acuity and higher National Eye Institute Vision Function Questionnaire-25 scores. Drivers reported driving an average of 4 days and 10 miles per week. Over 50% of drivers reported that because of their vision, they had difficulty with or did not drive at all in rain, at night, on freeways or interstate highways, in heavy traffic areas, or during rush hour. Drivers and nondrivers did not differ in their life space, the spatial extent of their excursions into their environment.

Conclusion: Some individuals who present to a low-vision clinic with age-related maculopathy do drive, although their driving exposure is low and they report avoiding challenging on-road situations. Driving status in age-related maculopathy appears to be related to better eye visual acuity and vision-specific health-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / psychology*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visually Impaired Persons / psychology
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data