Impact of gender on first eye cataract surgery and motor vehicle crash risk for older drivers


  • Competing/conflicts of interest: No stated conflict of interest.

  • Funding sources: This research has been funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant. The ARC provided funding only for the project.

Dr Lynn B Meuleners, Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (C-MARC), School of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia. Email:


Background:  No study to date has examined gender differences in crash risk after cataract surgery. Therefore, this study aimed to determine gender-related differences in the effectiveness of first eye cataract surgery in reducing crash risk for older drivers.

Design:  This retrospective before and after study used whole population linked data to compare the frequency of police reported crashes 1 year before and 1 year after first eye cataract surgery for the years 1997–2006.

Participants:  All patients aged 60–85 years who had first eye cataract surgery between 1997 and 2006 in Western Australia and were involved in a motor vehicle crash 12 months before and/ or after surgery.

Methods:  Two separate generalized estimating equation Poisson models were undertaken for males and females to compare crash frequency before and after surgery.

Main Outcome Measures:  Police-reported crashes before and after cataract surgery.

Results:  A large proportion of the cohort involved in a crash either 1 year before or 1 year after first eye cataract surgery were male (n = 1091, 63.6%) compared with female (n = 624, 36.3%). Results from the generalized estimating equation Poisson models showed a significant reduction of 15.3% (P = 0.040) in all police reported crash frequency for males 1 year after cataract surgery. However, there was no significant change in crash frequency after surgery for females.

Conclusions:  The results of this study suggest that clinicians may need to take gender into account when advising patients on driving safety before and after cataract surgery.