Australia’s first ever bioptic driving demonstration day using Ocutech bioptics

Ocutech is extremely proud to be part of this event. Australia’s first ever bioptic driving demonstration day–using Ocutech bioptics, was held last week at Wakefield Park, near Goulburn. An estimated 228,000 people in Australia could use this technology to drive for the first time, or continue to hold a driver’s license. We hope these awareness events help spread the word about our technology that his transforming lives! Bioptic driving is the use of assistive technology to allow people with central vision loss conditions to have sharper reactions to the obstacles in front of them. Continue reading this article–>

Bioptic Driving: The challenge of dealing with the state’s driver licensing office.

One of the great motivators for individuals to pursue bioptics is that they may become eligible to drive. 

In 2013 the State of North Carolina, my home state, passed its bioptic driving law that would enable some visually impaired individuals to be eligible to obtain a driver’s license.  Soon afterward I was invited to make a presentation to the state’s DMV Medical Board to explain what bioptics were all about and how they are used for driving (seems kind of backwards, doesn’t it?).  While I had expected to give a 30 minute presentation, the meeting lasted 2 hours and discussions explored a range of subjects related to vision and driving.

Soon after, I was invited to join the DMV Medical Review Board where I became involved not only in reviewing and ruling on DMV actions regarding individuals who were deemed inappropriate for licensure based upon a range of issues including vision, diabetic control, seizure disorders, substance abuse, cognitive status, behavioral issues and high accident rate.  In fact, the majority of the cases I was involved in reviewing were not vision-related at all.

In addition to my role examining the cases of individual drivers, I became involved in reviewing and revising the DMV’s vision guidelines including developing the process for licensing bioptic drivers. After several months of exploring the range of options, including meetings with stakeholders, we developed the methods and process that would be used for evaluating drivers. These were boiled down to be as easily administrable as possible. But there are 100 counties in the state, and many hundreds of DMV examiners, and more often than not, the examiner was unlikely to have previously encountered a bioptic driver. In addition, feedback I received from my own patients when they pursued their bioptic driver’s license, was that the DMV examiner had little idea how to perform vision tests on these individuals nor how to evaluate their on-road driving skills.

As a result of these issues, and as part of my role on the DMV Medical Board, I wrote a whitepaper backgrounder both for my NC Medical Board colleagues (one of whom was an ophthalmologist, while the others were neurologists, geriatricians, and a physiatrist) and for the DMV examiners in the field.

A DMV examiners guide to assessing a bioptic driver

In addition, as part of my role at Ocutech, I created three information brochures including:

I’m pleased to share this information with the low vision provider community.  I hope that this information is helpful and I invite you to share it as you see fit to help promote an effective understanding of how bioptics may enable visually impaired individuals to drive.

Dr. Greene to lead The Vision Council’s Low Vision Division

Ocutech co-founder and President, Henry Greene, OD, FAAO, has been elected in-coming chair of the Low Vision Division of The Vision Council. He will serve as Vice-Chair until his 2-year term begins in January 2022. 

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead the Low Vision Division during what promises to be a very exciting time for the vision rehabilitation specialty.  I take over the reins from outgoing chair, Richard Tapping, who has ably lead the division during the overwhelming challenges of the COVID pandemic.

As the first optometrist to take on this role, I hope to address issues that I feel will be helpful for all members of the low vision care community—both on the clinical and industry side. 

One of the most common refrains that low vision providers hear is ‘How come no one has told me about low vision care until now?’

Addressing this lack of awareness will guide my efforts during my term in office.  Specifically my goals will include:

  • Increasing awareness of low vision care
  • Creating a national directory of low vision care providers
  • Improving and facilitating methods for the referral of patients for low vision care

I reach out to all members of the low vision community to offer their advice and support to help the Low Vision Division bring these goals to fruition.


The Vision Council is thrilled to welcome Dr. Greene into the Chair role for the Low Vision Division. From fostering a high level of engagement between members and division leadership to raising awareness of low vision rehabilitation among eyecare providers as well as visually impaired consumers and their caregivers, Dr. Greene will play a key role in moving the division forward,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council.

Prescribing for the WOW!

“When you really help them, you’ll know,” my professor once told me. And those of us doing low vision certainly know that to be the truth!

We live in fear of hearing “I don’t want to hold it so close,” “it’s not as clear as it was before,” “the field of view is so narrow,” or “I still can’t see well at night!,” and always “Why can’t you just make me some new glasses I can see well with?”

But, the delight that we can evoke when our patient can read, watch TV, and see the faces and smiles of their loved ones from across the room, makes all the frustrations we as practitioners experience fade away. 

The challenge of course is that we can’t help everyone. Not everyone responds to low vision aids, either due to their vision, dexterity, temperament or motivation. These are variables we can’t often control. And we need to develop a method to manage such realities. 

We have to learn to not take it personally when things don’t go as smoothly as we might want. And this, I feel, is what discourages some of our colleagues from pursuing or continuing to provide low vision care. 

I have learned to promise less than I expect to achieve, to not over-prescribe, and to reiterate (over and over) that it’s a process, just like learning to ride a bike, play and instrument, or drive. We have to not just be prescribers, but we have to be cheerleaders as well.

An alternate approach to defining vision. The Visual Radius and the Social Range

Quite often patients will ask what 20/20 means.  The explanation of the Snellen visual acuity fraction doesn’t often satisfy their need to understand.  A patient once mentioned that with her reduced vision from macular degeneration, the furthest she could see was to the end of her arm.  Having just received a 4 power bioptic telescope, she remarked that it in effect it made her arm 4 times longer.  She no longer needed to walk up so close to see her friends and family, read signs, watch TV, and shop at the supermarket. 

Her experience suggests an alternate way to define distance vision—the furthest distance one can see an object of regard, which we can call the “Visual Radius.”  There is also a range of distances in which we engage in our normal day-to-day activities, often from 3-20 feet, which we can call the “Social Range.”  Getting closer than 3 feet to recognize an individual is considered socially aggressive behavior—we’re invading their personal space. They don’t feel comfortable having it done to them, and we don’t feel comfortable doing it.  Rooms are rarely bigger than 20 feet, so if we can see to the far end of a room, we can pretty much see what we need to see to be socially engaged.

So, for many situations, the goal in prescribing telescopic low vision aids for better distance seeing might be to extend the “Visual Radius” far enough in to the “Social Range” to be helpful for the individual.  If, for instance, we can only see faces as far as 4 feet away, a 4 power telescope will extend the distance to 16 feet, far enough into the social range to be helpful.  If, in another example, one can only see a face from 1 foot away, a 4x telescope would only extend the “Visual Radius” to 4 feet– insufficient to see far enough into the “Social Range” to provide a functional benefit.

So, knowing the distance at which an individual can normally see well, can offer a method for us to describe visual acuity in functional terms in a way that the patient can appreciate.  It can also be helpful in determining the proper telescope power needed to be helpful to an individual.

Bioptic Driving: The challenge of dealing with the state’s driver licensing office

By Henry A Greene, OD, FAAO

One of the great motivators for individuals to pursue bioptics is that they may become eligible to drive. 

In 2013 the State of North Carolina, my home state, passed its bioptic driving law that would enable some visually impaired individuals to be eligible to obtain a driver’s license.  Soon afterward I was invited to make a presentation to the state’s DMV Medical Board to explain what bioptics were all about and how they are used for driving (seems kind of backwards, doesn’t it?).  While I had expected to give a 30 minute presentation, the meeting lasted 2 hours and discussions explored a range of subjects related to vision and driving.

Soon after, I was invited to join the DMV Medical Review Board where I became involved not only in reviewing and ruling on DMV actions regarding individuals who were deemed inappropriate for licensure based upon a range of issues including vision, diabetic control, seizure disorders, substance abuse, cognitive status, behavioral issues and high accident rate.  In fact, the majority of the cases I was involved in reviewing were not vision-related at all.

In addition to my roll examining the cases of individual drivers, I became involved in reviewing and revising the DMV’s vision guidelines including developing the process for licensing bioptic drivers. After several months of exploring the range of options, including meetings with stakeholders, we developed the methods and process that would be used for evaluating drivers. These were boiled down to be as easily administrable as possible. But there are 100 counties in the state, and many hundreds of DMV examiners, and more often than not, the examiner was unlikely to have previously encountered a bioptic driver. In addition, feedback I received from my own patients when they pursued their bioptic driver’s license, was that the DMV examiner had little idea how to perform vision tests on these individuals nor how to evaluate their on-road driving skills.

As a result of these issues, and as part of my role on the DMV Medical Board, I wrote a whitepaper backgrounder both for my NC Medical Board colleagues (one of whom was an ophthalmologist, while the others were neurologists, geriatricians, and a physiatrist) and for the DMV examiners in the field. I wrote two versions of this backgrounder to share:

In addition, as part of my role at Ocutech, I created several information brochures including:

I’m pleased to share this information with the low vision provider community.  I hope that this information is helpful and I invite you to share it as you see fit to help promote an effective understanding of how bioptics may enable visually impaired individuals to drive. If you should have any questions, please email us at bioptics@Ocutech.com.