This study sought to evaluate associations between visual function and self-reported difficulty with driving tasks. Drivers (N = 384) between the ages of 55 and 85 were selected from ophthalmology practices and optometry clinics; three out of four of the sample had cataracts and the remaining were cataract-free. Information on driving exposure and difficulty was obtained via self-report. Visual functional status of all participants was measured with respect to acuity, contrast sensitivity, disability glare and useful field of view. Cognitive impairment was evaluated using the Mattis Organic Mental Syndrome Screening Examination. The results show a pattern of difficulty in high-risk driving situations among those with decreased visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, even after adjustments for age, gender, weekly mileage, and cognitive impairment. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.