An advanced driving simulator will be used to test a patient’s driving ability after cataract surgery. The trial will help determine if a newly developed artificial lens will be approved for sale in the United States. The lens replaces the patient’s natural, cataract-ravaged lens during surgery, and the trial will determine if it sufficiently reduces visual distractions caused by headlights when driving at night.

Demonstrating the miniSim portable driving simulator. (Tim Schoon)

The miniSim, designed by Iowa State University, mimics the kind of glare that drivers encounter from headlights. During testing, the patient will drive the miniSim and be asked to detect and identify signs and road hazards in the simulated drive. The miniSim consists of a display, steering wheel, pedals, and a PC, all of which is small enough to fit in a van and be driven to clinics and other healthcare centers so it’s conveniently accessible to patients participating in the clinical trial.