Glaucomatous visual fields and neurocognitive function are independently associated with poor lane maintenance during driving simulation

David E. Anderson, John P. Bader, Emily A. Boes, Meghal Gagrani, Lynette M. Smith, Jideofor K. Ndulue, Sachin Kedar, Vikas Gulati, Deepta A. Ghate, Matthew Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Driving simulators are a safe alternative to on-road vehicles for studying driving behavior in glaucoma drivers. Visual field (VF) loss severity is associated with higher driving simulator crash risk, though mechanisms explaining this relationship remain unknown. Furthermore, associations between driving behavior and neurocognitive performance in glaucoma are unexplored. Here, we evaluated the hypothesis that VF loss severity and neurocognitive performance interact to influence simulated vehicle control in glaucoma drivers. Methods: Glaucoma patients (n = 25) and suspects (n = 18) were recruited into the study. All had > 20/40 corrected visual acuity in each eye and were experienced field takers with at least three stable (reliability > 20%) fields over the last 2 years. Diagnosis of neurological disorder or cognitive impairment were exclusion criteria. Binocular VFs were derived from monocular Humphrey VFs to estimate a binocular VF index (OU-VFI). Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was administered to assess global and sub-domain neurocognitive performance. National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ) was administered to assess peripheral vision and driving difficulties sub-scores. Driving performance was evaluated using a driving simulator with a 290° panoramic field of view constructed around a full-sized automotive cab. Vehicle control metrics, such as lateral acceleration variability and steering wheel variability, were calculated from vehicle sensor data while patients drove on a straight two-lane rural road. Linear mixed models were constructed to evaluate associations between driving performance and clinical characteristics. Results: Patients were 9.5 years older than suspects (p = 0.015). OU-VFI in the glaucoma group ranged from 24 to 98% (85.6 ± 18.3; M ± SD). OU-VFI (p =.0066) was associated with MoCA total (p =.0066) and visuo-spatial and executive function sub-domain scores (p =.012). During driving simulation, patients showed greater steering wheel variability (p = 0.0001) and lateral acceleration variability (p <.0001) relative to suspects. Greater steering wheel variability was independently associated with OU-VFI (p =.0069), MoCA total scores (p = 0.028), and VFQ driving sub-scores (p = 0.0087), but not age (p = 0.61). Conclusions: Poor vehicle control was independently associated with greater VF loss and worse neurocognitive performance, suggesting both factors contribute to information processing models of driving performance in glaucoma. Future research must demonstrate the external validity of current findings to on-road performance in glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number419
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Cognition
  • Driving
  • Executive function
  • Glaucoma
  • Quality of life
  • Simulation
  • Vehicle control
  • Visual field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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