"All great truths begin as blasphemies"
- George Bernard Shaw
How do bioptic help in driving?
Bioptic drivers drive with carrier lenses 95 percent of time or more. The bioptic telescope is only used to do quick spotting such as to read a traffic sign or check a distant traffic light or check events far down the road. It is used much the way we all take a quick look in the rear view mirror.
All drivers with or without bioptics use their side vision for much of the driving process.The eye conditions we fit with bioptics generally involve loss of central or macular vision. Note that the macular region only accounts for 5 degrees of the total visual field.
Central vision aids us in detail such as reading a road sign or traffic signal. See the video below to better understand how the visual field is used in bioptic driving. Click to play the movie which is narrated by Dr. Laura Windsor.
Bioptic drivers are required to have adequate side vision and thus can handle the general driving with their natural vision. The bioptic telescope portion is used only for the signs, traffic signals and events far down the road.
Dr. William Feinbloom demonstrated this principle in the 1970s by filming two drives through New York City. First, he used lenses to blur his vision to 20/200 and then with an 8mm movie camera recording, he drove through the crowded streets of New York City with his only difficult being unable to read signs. He than repeated the drive while still blurred but wearing the bioptic system he had invented. He showed that not only could he drive safely, but now he could better see and read the signs and traffic signals. Dr. Feinbloom also performed this test successfully with 8 test subjects.
Bioptics driving systems are prescribed for patients with adequate side vision but with mild to moderate central losses of vision that can be compensated for with the magnification of the bioptic telescope. Bioptic drivers use the telescopic portion of the bioptic eyewear for no more than 1 to 2 seconds while moving by a quick tilt and down and back with their heads.
This brief video clip on bioptic driving demonstrates the head movement and how it helps the patient see the stop sign.
The Low Vision Centers of Indiana
Richard L. Windsor O.D., F.A.A.O., D.P.N.A.P.
Craig Allen Ford O.D., F.A.A.O.
Laura Kathleen Windsor. O.D., F.A.A.O.