In the recent invited commentary “Driving Eligibility in Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy,” published online in April in JAMA Ophthalmology, Dr. Cynthia Owsley, professor, in the department of ophthalmology, and Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr., professor in the departments of epidemiology and ophthalmology, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discuss the efficacy of patients undergoing bilateral multispot laser panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) to lessen the likelihood of severe vision loss due to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). They note that although field of vision is often restored, the treatment can also cause a loss of peripheral vision, which may affect a patient’s ability to safely drive.
[Photo: Dr. Cynthia Owsley (left) and Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr.]
The authors point out that although driving is a necessary form of transportation in many countries—and is closely associated with a person’s sense of well-being, both mentally and physically — there is no known published research on how drivers who have been treated with PRP perform on the road to ascertain whether there exists a heightened risk for motor vehicle collisions as a result of such difficulties as maintaining proper lane control. Therefore, they recommend that future studies include an evaluation of on-road performance using a sizable sample group who are followed post-treatment for longer than six months.