Purpose: To study driving performance in people with homonymous hemianopia (HH) assessed in the official on-road test of practical fitness to drive by the Dutch driver's licensing authority (CBR).
Methods: Data were collected from a cohort (January 2010-July 2012) of all people with HH following the official relicensure trajectory at Royal Dutch Visio and the CBR in the Netherlands. Driving performance during the official on-road tests of practical fitness to drive was scored by professional experts on practical fitness to drive, using the visual impairments protocol and a standardized scoring of visual, tactical and operational aspects. Age ranged from 27 to 72 years (mean = 52, SD = 11.7) and time since onset of the visual field defect ranged from 6 to 41 months (mean = 15, SD = 7.5).
Results: Fourteen (54%) participants were judged as fit to drive. Besides poor visual scanning during driving, specific tactical, and operational weaknesses were observed in people with HH that were evaluated as unfit to drive. Results suggest that judgement on practical fitness to drive cannot be based on solely the visual field size. Visual scanning and operational handling of the car were found to be more impaired with longer time not driven, while such an effect was not found for tactical choices during driving.
Conclusions: Training programs aimed at improving practical fitness to drive in people with HH should focus on improving both visual scanning, as well as driving aspects such as steering stability, speed adaptation, and anticipating environmental changes.
Keywords: driving; hemianopia; patient safety; visual field defects.
Copyright 2014 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.