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Visual Function Test among Commercial Drivers in a North Central State of Nigeria

Ngozi Charity Chidi-Egboka, Oladimeji Akeem Bolarinwa, Ademola Olugbenga Awoyemi

Introduction: Vision is the most important source of information during driving and many driving related injuries have been associated with visual problems.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of visual function impairment among commercial drivers in a north central state of Nigeria and their relationship with involvement in road traffic crash.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in Ilorin metropolis, the capital of Kwara State located in north central Nigeria. Of the estimated registered commercial drivers in private, government owned and public motor parks in Ilorin metropolis, 328 drivers were selected using multistage sampling methods. Structured questionnaire was administered by trained research assistants and visual function tests were carried out by the principal researcher and an assistant. Data was analysed using SPSS version 18. The level of significance was set at p-value of less or equal to 0.05.

Results: Using the Nigerian Federal Road Safety Commission's requirement for commercial drivers, the prevalence of visual function impairment among the respondents were 9.1%, 19.5% and 9.5% for visual acuity, visual field and color vision respectively. There was no statistically significant association between impairment in visual field, color vision and the respondents' rate of involvement in road traffic crash; but there was a significant association between visual acuity impairment and involvement in road traffic crash [P < 0.05]. Uncorrected refractive error was the commonest cause of visual function impairment among the respondents.

Conclusion: This study concluded that visual acuity impairment was significantly associated with the commercial drivers' rate of involvement in road traffic crash. It is therefore recommended that transport and traffic regulatory agencies in Nigeria should ensure that all drivers applying for driving license undergo basic visual function tests. This could serve as a very strong tool in ascertaining the eligibility of an individual for commercial driving.