QUT puts night-time vision problems in the spotlight

July 4, 2014, Queensland University of Technology
QUT puts night-time vision problems in the spotlight
QUT researcher Janessa Kimlin is studying why over 50s have vision problems at night.

Do you struggle to see at night? A new QUT study is looking to uncover why some people over the age of 50 find their vision falters after dark and what eye tests might help to identify those at risk.

Janessa Kimlin, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said about one third of older people report difficulties caused by glare, especially when , and their ability to see in dim light.

"There are many factors that have been linked to increases in glare disability and problems with vision in low light that increase as we age," Ms Kimlin said.

"As we get older, our eye changes and the lens inside the eye can form cataracts which cause a scattering of light within the eye making it harder to distinguish objects from their backgrounds, both in low light and also in situations with bright lights such as headline glare.

"Age is also linked to decreases in pupil size and neural changes that occur at the back of the eye and can affect the amount of light entering the eye, as well as how well we cope with glare and distinguish contrast.

"The problem is there are limited tests for these types of visual problems and those that are available are not widely used by eye care professionals."

Ms Kimlin has launched an and will be conducting specialised eye tests to better understand night vision difficulties that occur as people get older.

"At the moment there are a number of eye tests that optometrists use to determine how well people can see including the common eye chart test," she said.

"Optometrists also use a visual field test and a pressure test to check for conditions like glaucoma.

"What my study will do is see whether eye tests performed under lower light conditions and with glare could help identify night-vision difficulties."

As part of the study, Ms Kimlin will be conducting a twilight vision assessment not commonly used in Australia.

"The twilight test, uses a specially designed piece of equipment that is only available from Germany, and assesses contrast sensitivity such as the ability to see shades of grey in both glary and dark conditions," Ms Kimlin said.

"I want to find out whether such a test could help identify Australians who have problems seeing in lower conditions."

Ms Kimlin said many older people were concerned about night driving, with some giving up driving after dark because of their visual difficulties.

"Research has shown that older drivers are good at self-regulating their driving habits such as limiting their night driving, or not driving during peak-hour traffic but we need to be offering tests that can help more accurately understand and therefore manage changes to their vision," she said.

People over the age of 50 can take part in the online survey available at survey.qut.edu.au/f/180016/d9a3/ . As part of the survey participants can also nominate to take part in specialised vision testing at QUT's Kelvin Grove.

Explore further: Research finds that the eye's optical quality deteriorates after alcohol consumption

Related Stories

Research finds that the eye's optical quality deteriorates after alcohol consumption

June 17, 2014
A study conducted by the University of Granada has scientifically proven that alcohol consumption markedly impairs night-vision because it increases the perception of halos—luminous circles—and other visual night-time ...

Eye docs must do more to spot unsafe older drivers: study

October 11, 2012
(HealthDay)—Most eye doctors consider it their responsibility to ask older patients about driving problems, but this hit-or-miss approach may not be nearly enough to clear the roads of unsafe elderly drivers, new research ...

Color vision problems become more common with age

February 20, 2014
Abnormal color vision increases significantly with aging—affecting one-half or more of people in the oldest age groups, reports a study in Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

New simulator for older drivers is put to the test

April 16, 2014
University of Adelaide researchers are hoping that a new computer-based driving simulation will help lead to accurate, low-cost testing of older drivers' ability to stay safe on the roads.

Kellogg researcher helping eye care providers better assess driving in older adults

August 22, 2011
Drivers over age 65 are the fastest-growing segment of the driving population, and their eye care providers—ophthalmologists and optometrists—are playing an increasingly important role in assessing their ability ...

Glaucoma-related vision loss may increase risk for auto accidents

November 11, 2012
The first study to compare accident rates for drivers who have advanced glaucoma − an eye disease that affects peripheral vision − with normal-vision drivers, found that the glaucoma group had about twice as many accidents. ...

Recommended for you

Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma

January 16, 2018
While testing genes to treat glaucoma by reducing pressure inside the eye, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists stumbled onto a problem: They had trouble getting efficient gene delivery to the cells that act like drains ...

New study offers added hope for patients awaiting corneal transplants

January 9, 2018
New national research led by Jonathan Lass of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found that corneal donor tissue can be safely stored for 11 days before transplantation surgery to correct eye problems ...

Diabetic blindness caused and reversed "trapped" immune cells in rodent retinas

January 3, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels ...

Ophthalmologists increasingly dissatisfied with electronic health records

December 29, 2017
Ophthalmologists' use of electronic health records (EHR) systems for storing and accessing patients' medical histories more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, while their perceptions of financial and clinical productivity ...

Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake tied to lower glaucoma risk

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Increased daily intake of ω-3 fatty acids is associated with lower odds of glaucoma, but higher levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake are associated with higher odds of developing glaucoma, ...

Protein analysis allows for treatment of eye-disease symptoms with existing drugs

December 21, 2017
Demonstrating the potential of precision health, a team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has matched existing drugs to errant proteins expressed by patients with a rare eye disease.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.