Medical review licensing outcomes in drivers with visual field loss in Victoria, Australia

Carlyn Muir, Judith L Charlton, Morris Odell, Jill Keeffe, Joanne Wood, Megan Bohensky, Brian Fildes, Jennifer Oxley, Sharon Bentley, Matthew Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Good vision is essential for safe driving and studies have associated visual impairment with an increased crash risk. Currently, there is little information about the medical review of drivers with visual field loss. This study examines the prevalence of visual field loss among drivers referred for medical review in one Australian jurisdiction and investigates factors associated with licence outcome in this group. Methods: A random sample of 10,000 (31.25 per cent) medical review cases was extracted for analysis from the Victorian licensing authority. Files were screened for the presence of six visual field-related medical conditions. Data were captured on a range of variables, including referral source, age, gender, health status, crash history and licence outcome. Prevalence analyses were univariate and descriptive. Logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with licence outcomes in the visual field loss group. Results: Approximately 1.9 per cent of the 10,000 medical review cases screened had a visual field loss condition identified (n=194). Among the visual field loss group, 57.2 per cent were permitted to continue driving (conditional/unconditional licence). Primary referral sources were the police, self-referrals and general medical practitioners. Key factors associated with licence test outcomes were visual field condition, age group, crash involvement and referral to the Driver Licensing Authority's Medical Advisors. Those who were younger had a crash involvement triggering referral and those who were referred to the Medical Advisors were more likely to have a positive licensing outcome. Conclusion: The evidence base for making licensing decisions is complicated by the variable causes, patterns, progressions and measuring technologies for visual field loss. This study highlighted that the involvement of an expert medical advisory service in Victoria resulted in an increased likelihood that drivers with visual field loss will be allowed to continue driving. Further research is warranted to explore issues relating to severity of field loss and the capacity for compensation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Volume99
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Driver's vision
  • Medical review
  • Visual fields

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