Naturalistic Driving Patterns of Older Adults Before and After Cataract Surgery
Porter, Michelle M
Cull, Andrew W.
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Background. Cataract surgery can have many benefits for older adults, including enabling continued driving. However, it is not known how objectively measured driving patterns change after cataract surgery. Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine how participants from the Winnipeg site of Candrive (a longitudinal study of older drivers in Canada) drove before and after cataract surgery. Methods. An in-vehicle device monitored all trips taken at 1 second intervals allowing for the analysis of distances driven, number of trips, time of trips, speeding, excessive braking/accelerating, as well as the types of roadways. Hypotheses. It was hypothesized that after cataract surgery participants would drive further. Secondarily it was also hypothesized that participants would make more trips, drive further from home on different roadway types, drive in the dark more, speed more, and have fewer episodes of hard brakes and accelerations. Results. Over the four years of data collection, there were 16 cases of participants having cataract surgery, whereby there was also suitable driving data for analyses. Participants drove 28% further distances after surgery (p = 0.022). They also had drove further from home, more on primary roads (p < 0.05), and had fewer episodes of hard braking per distance travelled (p < 0.001). No other variables significantly changed. Conclusions. This study suggests that older drivers changed some of their driving patterns after cataract surgery. Future studies could explore the effects of increased driving exposure, in conjunction with potentially safer driving behaviors, on overall driving safety after cataract surgery.