Slow eyelid closure as a measure of driver drowsiness and its relationship to performance

Traffic Inj Prev. 2016;17(3):251-7. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2015.1055327. Epub 2015 Jun 11.


Objective: Slow eyelid closure is recognized as an indicator of sleepiness in sleep-deprived individuals, although automated ocular devices are not well validated. This study aimed to determine whether changes in eyelid closure are evident following acute sleep deprivation as assessed by an automated device and how ocular parameters relate to performance after sleep deprivation.

Methods: Twelve healthy professional drivers (45.58 ± 10.93 years) completed 2 randomized sessions: After a normal night of sleep and after 24 h of total sleep deprivation. Slow eye closure (PERCLOS) was measured while drivers performed a simulated driving task.

Results: Following sleep deprivation, drivers displayed significantly more eyelid closure (P < .05), greater variation in lane position (P < .01) and more attentional lapses (P < .05) compared to after normal sleep. PERCLOS was moderately associated with variability in both vigilance performance (r = 0.68, P < .05) and variation in lane position on the driving task (r = 0.61, P < .05).

Conclusions: Automated ocular measurement appears to be an effective means of detecting impairment due to sleep loss in the laboratory.

Keywords: professional drivers; reaction time; simulated driving; sleep deprivation; slow eyelid closure; standard deviation of lateral position; vigilance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Computer Simulation
  • Eyelids / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult