Is Cataract Surgery Associated with Reduced Risk of a Serious Traffic Accident?

Bottom Line: Cataract surgery was associated with a modest decrease in the risk of being involved in a serious traffic crash.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Cataracts are the most common cause of impaired vision worldwide and may increase a driver’s risk of a traffic accident. The potential benefits of cataract surgery for reducing a patient’s subsequent risk of an accident are uncertain.

Who and When: 559,546 patients 65 years and older who underwent cataract surgery; this population-based study was conducted from 2006 to 2016

What (Study Measures and Outcomes): First eye cataract surgery, although most have a second eye surgery soon after (exposure); emergency department visit for a traffic crash as a driver (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Matthew B. Schlenker, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C., University of Toronto, and coauthors

Results: The crash rate decreased from 2.36 to 2.14 per 1,000 patients per year after cataract surgery, representing a 9 percent reduction in serious traffic crashes.

Study Limitations: This was not a randomized trial testing the effects of cataract surgery; patients were aware of their diagnosis, mindful of their treatments and could alter their driving behaviors.

Study Conclusions:

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.2510)