The UFOV – first introduced in 1993 through an article in the Journal of the American Optometric Association, has received more attention lately in the context of driving safety for senior citizens. It is clear that our traditional clinical tests don’t do a very good job in addressing increased visual risk factors for driving mishaps. Optometrists engaged in vision therapy have become increasingly involved with tests and measures involving UFOV and Visual Processing Speed in a wide range of populations, including children. UFOV can be conveniently conceived as a combination of visual field measurement coupled with peripheral awareness – in other words, how objects are processed within the window of attention rather than just points of light.
Much of this is rooted in visual cognition, specifically visual attention/processing speed. Here is a brief primer for the lay person. This has importance not just for testing, but for training purposes. It is as relevant to patients with acquired brain injury as to patients with changes due to the aging process, though these populations often overlap in rehabilitation environments. It is amazing that we persist with visual acuity standards as the principal measure of obtaining and maintaining a driver’s license. Although visual field standards are part of formal regulations, these are rarely tested in order to obtain or maintain a license. Even if accurate, traditional perimetry is quite different than UFOV. It is mind-boggling than in a life or death situation we persist with visual acuity as an index of driving entitlement, a test that has no relationship to driving safety.
Here are some informative links: