[Driving behavior of patients before cataract operation--is an unlimited driver's license justifiable? Results of an analysis of 1,124 patients of the ophthalmology department of a central hospital]

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 1998 Feb;212(2):106-10. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1034842.
[Article in German]


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the driving habits and patterns of those patients, who underwent cataract-surgery during a one year period at the Landesaugenklinik Salzburg and to compare the preoperative visual acuity with the legal requirements in effect in Austria.

Materials and methods: The best-corrected visual acuity prior to surgery and the individual driving customs were noted on a detailed questionnaire.

Results: A minimum of 5.6% of the overall number of patients with cataract (not taking visual field defects into account) were driving a motor vehicle with a visual acuity not sufficient to meet current legal requirements. Considering only those drivers licence holders that admitted to still driving a motor vehicle it can be concluded that 26% have a legally unsatisfactory visual acuity. As between 28,000 and 31,000 cataract-operations are performed yearly in Austria, this study seems to clearly indicate that at least 1,600 of these persons--regardless of an additional visual field defect--are illegally driving a motor vehicle. It can be additionally concluded that the number of undetected cases is significantly higher.

Conclusions: It therefore seems appropriate to call for a mandatory eye exam by a qualified ophthalmologist of all persons holding a driving licence, possibly beginning at the age of 60. The license issued thereafter should be valid for an age-related period of time only.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Austria
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Vision Screening / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Visual Acuity* / physiology