Wearing multifocal contact lenses may reduce vision for driving at night

Washington, Nov 4 (ANI): Older adults who wear multifocal contact lenses to correct problems with near vision, a very common condition that increases with age, may have greater difficulty driving at night than their counterparts who wear glasses, says a new study.

Age-related problems with near vision, medically termed presbyopia, usually occurs after the age of 40 and results in the inability to focus on objects up close.

The study suggests that wearing multifocal contact lenses resulted in significantly slower driving speeds at night than wearing progressive addition glasses, which authors reported a reduced ability to recognize road hazards.

The study also showed that multifocal contact lens wearers were able to see road signs, but at a much shorter distance than those wearing glasses, potentially decreasing the reaction time required for a driver to make necessary navigational decisions.

"For those patients who drive long distances and hours at night, practitioners should carefully consider the best form of correction of presbyopia for these patients. One alternative is to prescribe the multifocal contact lenses for daytime use and a different correction for driving at night," said author Byoung Sun Chu, formerly of the School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

The research team conducted an experiment with 11 older adults between ages 45-64 years whose only experience with wearing lenses to correct problems with near vision was reading glasses.

In addition to conducting studies with a larger sample size to confirm the findings, the author suggests future studies be performed to determine whether the outcomes found in this will persist after adaptation to wearing the corrective lenses for a longer period of time.

"It is important that the results of this study are also used as a stimulus for improving the optical qualities of multifocal contact lenses to improve night time driving," added Chu.

The study has been published in journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. (ANI)

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