European GLARE project

Overview Project

Participating Institutes


Contact us

Relevance of glare sensitivity and impairment of visual function among European drivers

On January 1, 2003 an international research project started with the above title.  It is partly financed by the European Union with project number: SUB-B27020B-E3-GLARE-2002-S07.18091.  The duration of the project is two years.  The project has finished now.  For the results, see the publications section.

Project goals
The occurrence of the most important types of visual impairment in European drivers will be determined. The three main visual functions of interest are: visual acuity (the ability to distinguish small detail), visual field (the ability to see things from aside), and glare sensitivity (degree of blinding when exposed to bright lights in the periphery such as a low sun or headlights of oncoming cars at night). These visual functions, in particular glare sensitivity, decline with age. In order to decide if and at what ground (age) to assess specific visual functions for driving licence applications, it is important to determine the prevalence of visual impairment as a function of age.
Currently there are no demands placed upon the glare sensitivity of drivers, even though it is generally accepted as important for traffic safety. The reason is that no standard for such measurement exists. In this project we propose to develop an instrument to measure glare sensitivity for driving licence application and to establish the relation between glare sensitivity and the degree of visual impairment in driving situations.

To determine the prevalence of visual impairment in drivers, visual acuity, visual field, and glare sensitivity of (elderly) drivers will be assessed in different countries of the European Community. Glare sensitivity will be assessed with an adapted version of the so called stray light meter. The instrument will be optimised for the driving licence applications, especially with respect to accuracy, test time, and user friendliness. Using driving simulation tests, the relation between glare sensitivity (ocular stray light) and degree of visual impairment, will be assessed. For public and political awareness campaigns, instruments will be developed to simulate different glare sensitivity levels. Road specific contrast detection tests will be developed to measure visual impairment.

Project deliverables
Besides an extensive report to the European Community, the results will be presented at several conferences and by means of at least one international peer-reviewed scientific journal article. Stray light meters adapted for driving licence applications will be designed and instrumentation to simulate different degrees of glare sensitivity, also to be used for awareness campaigns of the effects of increased glare sensitivity.

Five groups in 5 different countries will participate in this joint research project. On the one hand there are more physics/visual psychophysics groups focused on methodological and analytical aspects of the study, and in particular on the stray light meter and the relation of glare sensitivity to visual impairment in driving situations (Amsterdam 1). On the other hand there are more clinically oriented ophthalmologic groups focused on the prevalence study (Amsterdam 2, Tübingen, Salzburg, Barcelona, and Antwerp).