Prescribing Bioptics For Driving: Considerations and Suggestions

Bioptic telescopes can help the visually impaired to be safer drivers, thus increasing their independence and enhancing their quality of life.

Be certain to know your state’s requirements for bioptic driving:

  1. Limits of visual acuity of a bioptic driver both through the carrier lenses and through the telescope.
  2. Required telescope characteristics (monocular vs. binocular, and maximum powers, etc.) allowed (if mandated).
  3. Websites where such information is available include:

Prescribing Power

Consider prescribing a telescope power that provides visual acuity no better than 20/30 to 20/40 and that provides the widest field of view possible. This implies prescribing Keplerian telescope optical designs for powers of 3x and higher.

Prescribing for One Eye

When prescribing for one eye, the preference is to prescribe to the dominant eye, since it is usually more natural for the bioptic wearer to sight and localize using that eye.

  1. Even if the dominant eye is the poorer-seeing eye, consider prescribing a monocular telescope to that eye, so long as you can achieve the desired visual acuity through the telescope.
  2. If you must prescribe to the non-dominant eye, consider a binocular prescription if possible and permissible in the driver’s jurisdiction.

Prior to Prescribing Considerations

Since the vast majority of driving will be conducted using the carrier lenses, it might be desirable to confirm that the individual has the potential to become a competent driver before prescribing a bioptic, especially if the sole purpose of the bioptic would be for driving purposes.