The low vision device that helps you keep your independence.


Bioptics is a name for a pair of vision-enhancement lenses, commonly known as a bioptic in the singular and sometimes more technically called a bioptic telescope. They are used to enhance distant vision for patients with severely damaged eyesight, notably those with albinism or macular degeneration, and magnify between two and six times. They may be a mix of head-mounted eyeglasses (referred to as the “carrier”) and binoculars, or they can be constructed to fit over existing spectacles. Some people use monoculars with tiny telescopes installed on, in, or behind their normal lenses, allowing them to gaze through either the regular (carrier lens) or telescopic lens. Newer versions use smaller, lighter miniaturized telescopes that magnify up to six times and may be incorporated inside the spectacle lens to enhance aesthetics.  It has been shown that tiny telescopic lenses may be used to slow down a nystagmus. In certain areas, people with limited eyesight who use Bioptics may be allowed to drive vehicles.

Bioptics are expensive but worth the cost

Most bioptics start at $1500.00 and go up from there, the average being probably $2500.00 The cost varies on the type of telescope, the frame, the manufacturer, the lens coatings on the carrier lenses and if there are accessories such as reading caps.

Insurance coverage

In some cases part of the cost maybe covered by insurance however this isn’t usually the normal. The majority of people needing these telescopes are elderly people with macular degeneration and tend to be on Medicare and Medicare doesn’t cover glasses especially expensive telescope glasses. Some vision plans may cover what they normally would on a regular pair of glasses.

Conditions that bioptics help with

Macular degeneration glasses could be another term for bioptics considering that is the most common condition that these are used for. Diabetic retinopathy is also another common condition followed by Stargardts disease and nystagmus. Albinism and optic atrophy

Different Styles and types

Telescopes come in two types one being the Galilean type which is usually used up to about 4x of magnification. They can be made much smaller than the other type the Keplerian style telescopes. The Keplerian style uses a more complex optical system and are bulkier because of it, however they are better for larger magnification applications because they provide a wider field of view compared to the Galilean style in the stronger mags. 

Galilean style bioptics come in a fixed focus and in some cases a manual focus type. Keplerian styles scopes come in three types, fixed focus, manual focus and autofocus.

Ease of use

Unlike many of the high tech low vision devices on the market today, bioptic telescope glasses are pretty easy to learn to use. Very similar to learning to use a bifocal.

Specs of the device

Depending on the type of telescope and the power, the size will vary. They do add a bit of weight to the glasses and having some chums to snug up on the back of the head is advised. They typically stick out off the front of they glasses about ¾ of an inch.

Can bioptics be purchased for a relative?

In many cases a relative is researching options for their loved ones to help them see. Because bioptics require a prescription the actual patient will have to be there for the fitting. It is good for a relative to be there if the patient is older and possibly forgetful. This is useful for decision making and training

Will I be embarrassed to wear these?

We are all concerned about how things will make us look. Luckily bioptics can be put in many different frames styles as long as they are large enough to allow both areas to be utilized efficiently. Even though bioptics are larger they have a cool futuristic look to them. Most people will be more curious than judging about them.

How long with they last?

Like any other glasses, they metal in the frame will fatigue and the lenses will eventually get scratched etc. The better they are taken care of the longer they will last. Other considerations will be the progression of your disease and your prescription. The telescopes can be updated along with the lenses in the glasses if the power or prescription changes.

Find a nearby low vision professional

The best way to learn more about low vision aids and pick up the right ones is to visit a low vision professional. It’s easy to find one in your area.

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