Zhang, Christine (Ting) BASc; Bowers, Alex R. MCOptom, PhD, FAAO; Savage, Steven W. PhD

The Effects of Age, Distraction, and Simulated Central Vision Impairment on Hazard Detection in a Driving Simulator

publication date
December 15, 2019
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Despite similar levels of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity reductions, simulated central vision impairment increased response times to a much greater extent in older than in younger participants.


Driving is crucial for maintaining independence in older age, but age-related vision impairments and in-vehicle auditory distractions may impair driving safety. We investigated the effects of age, simulated central vision impairment, and auditory distraction on detection of pedestrian hazards.


Thirty-two normally sighted participants (16 younger and 16 older) completed four highway drives in a simulator and pressed the horn whenever they saw a pedestrian. Pedestrians ran toward the road on a collision course with the approaching vehicle. Simulated central vision impairment was achieved by attaching diffusing filters to a pair of laboratory goggles, which reduced visual acuity to 20/80 and contrast sensitivity by 0.35 log units. For drives with distraction, subjects listened to an audiobook and repeated out loud target words.



Simulated central vision impairment had a greater effect on reaction times (660-millisecond increase) than age (350-millisecond increase) and distraction (160-millisecond increase) and had a greater effect on older than younger subjects (828- and 492-millisecond increase, respectively). Simulated central vision impairment decreased safe response rates from 94.7 to 78.3%. Distraction did not, however, affect safety because older subjects drove more slowly when distracted (but did not drive more slowly with vision impairment), suggesting that they might have perceived greater threat from the auditory distraction than the vision impairment.


Older participants drove more slowly in response to auditory distraction. However, neither older nor younger participants adapted their speed in response to simulated vision impairment, resulting in unsafe detections. These results underline the importance of evaluating safety of responses to hazards as well as reaction times in a paradigm that flexibly allows participants to modify their driving behaviors.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

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