Mobile Telephone Use and Reaction Time in Drivers with Glaucoma

Combining mobile telephone use with driving is not unusual. However, distracted driving limits driving performance because of limited capacity for persons to divide attention. To investigate the frequency of mobile telephone use while driving and to assess whether patients with glaucoma had a disproportionate decrease in driving performance while conversing on a mobile telephone compared with healthy participants. Cross-sectional study of surveys collected from 112 patients with glaucoma and 70 control participants investigating mobile telephone use while driving. A randomly selected subgroup of 37 patients with glaucoma and 28 controls drove in a driving simulator to investigate peripheral event detection performance during distracted driving at the Visual Performance Laboratory, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Data collection was performed from December 1, 2016, through April 30, 2017. Participants answered a survey and submitted to a driving simulation test with and without mobile telephone use. Survey answers were collected, and distracted driving performance, assessed by reaction time to peripheral stimuli, was analyzed. Of the 182 participants who answered the survey, the 112 participants with glaucoma included 56 women (50.0%) and had a mean (SD) age of 73.6 (9.6) years. The 70 controls included 49 women (70.0%) and had a mean (SD) age of 68.4 (10.9) years. When asked about mobile telephone use while driving, 30 patients with glaucoma (26.8%) admitted rarely using and 2 (1.8%) sometimes using it. In the control group, 20 participants (28.6%) admitted rarely using and 2 (2.9%) sometimes using the telephone while driving (P = .80). Reaction times to peripheral stimuli were significantly longer among patients with glaucoma compared with controls during mobile telephone use (median [interquartile range], 1.86 [1.42-2.29] seconds vs 1.14 [0.98-1.59] seconds; P = .02). Compared with driving performance while not using a mobile telephone, the mean (SD) increase of 0.85 (0.60) second in reaction time while conversing on the mobile telephone among patients with glaucoma was significantly greater than the mean (SD) increase of 0.68 (0.83) second for controls (P = .03). This study's findings indicate that patients with glaucoma use mobile telephones while driving as frequently as healthy participants. However, the findings also suggest that patients with glaucoma may experience a greater decline than healthy participants in their ability to detect peripheral events while driving when also talking on a mobile telephone. Patients with glaucoma should be informed that they may have a higher driving risk that may be worsened by distractions, such as mobile telephone use.


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  • Accession Number: 01740557
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 24 2020 2:56PM