Living with low vision and keeping your independence.
The loss of a driver’s license and the freedom to travel anywhere at any time is one of the most difficult transitions for most individuals in the United States.
Living with poor eyesight and losing the ability to drive may lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and withdrawal from society. We must do all possible to maintain the patient’s self-sufficient. Driving is a crucial component of freedom.
Bioptic low vision driving glasses
Low vision aids come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Low vision glasses, hand-held fixed magnifiers, special lighting, sophisticated hi-tech equipment, mobile phone applications, and many more items are available. Low vision aids in the form of spectacles are excellent for driving since you require a hands-free gadget. Bioptic telescope glasses are the most often used.
Patients with good side vision but significant central vision loss may benefit from bioptic telescope glasses to improve distant vision. A pair of bioptic telescope lenses is positioned slightly above the usual line of sight on regular lenses of your prescription eyeglasses. With a small downward tilt of the head and an upward movement of the eyes, distant things seem bigger and closer when seen through the bioptic lens, enabling patients to read street signs and see traffic lights from a distance.
Miniature telescopes of known power are drilled and bonded onto a prescription “carrier” lens in bioptic telescopic spectacles. The bioptic telescope is used for spots, such as signs and traffic signals, in the same way as a rearview mirror is used to see things behind the vehicle. Due to the narrow field of vision, the patient does not continuously look through the telescope while driving.
Is there training required for driving with low vision glasses?
Depending on the state you live in you may be required to spend some time with a Driving rehabilitation trainer to help you get used to the bioptic glasses for driving. Each state has different requirements.
A low vision doctor may prescribe a custom-made pair of bioptic lenses after a low vision test, as well as offer the required advice and training on using them. The eye doctor may also send you to a driver rehabilitation specialist who will assist you in improving your driving abilities and ensuring that you are safe and comfortable while driving with your new low vision glasses.
How Do you use low vision glasses?
The patient merely uses the telescope for a brief glance at a street sign, traffic light, or other items. When changing lanes, it’s the same as glancing in the rearview or side-view mirrors. So there isn’t much of a learning curve for most people to figure out how to use the bioptics. It does take some getting accustomed to the fact that your field of vision is reduced, but you’re just using them to see details of a street sign or something similar for a short time. The telescope is mounted on the top of the glasses above your normal line of sight. When needing to spot something in the distance you slightly tip your head down to look through the scope and then return to the normal carrier lens after seeing what you need to in the distance.
Escoop low vision glasses for driving
What are escoop’s?
E-Scoop glasses are glasses with a patented design with five optical characteristics to help patients get the most out of their residual eyesight. E-Scoop glasses direct your gaze to the area of your eye that is least impacted by vision loss.
The E-Scoop glasses function by combining the following characteristics:
- Anti-reflective (Coating) — When using a computer, driving at night, or doing other comparable activities, the anti-reflective coating minimizes glare.
- Base (Curve) – The lens curve enlarges the picture slightly, allowing a person with poor vision to see more detail.
- The prism guides light away from the damaged regions of the macula and toward the outside area, which is untouched in the early stages of vision loss.
- The tint reduces visual stress from strong light while also providing UV protection, resulting in increased comfort and better vision.
How do escoops help people to drive?
Because of the filters and the anti-reflective coatings, the escoops help to cut glare. The unique base curve gives between 6-10% magnification of all things viewed through the lenses. This not only makes seeing detail better but maybe the extra nudge you need to pass the vision requirements for your state driving test. As mentioned above the prism shifts the image to a more functional part of the retina also giving a clearer image for driving. The tints also help in low light conditions for better contrast sensitivity.
Sunglasses for people with low vision
Glare can be a huge issue for some people depending on their low vision underlying cause. Glare, for example, may make it difficult to see on a bright day. Glare is a common issue for people with AMD.
This is particularly true if the person has both AMD and a cataract. Regular sunglasses may reduce glare, but they also reduce contrast, which can be problematic. It is important to choose the finest sunglasses for you. The capacity to notice things when the contrast is reduced is another issue with driving with poor eyesight. You may restrict your driving to sunny, bright lighting conditions and daytime driving if you realize that this is an issue for you.
This is due to a lack of contrast sensitivity, which means that when a dark object is placed against a light background, such as bold, black letters on a white page, the words stand out; however, when the contrast is absent, such as dark letters on a darker background, it is much more difficult to distinguish the letters or words.
When driving at night, the contrast is significantly decreased, making it much more difficult to detect any dark-colored vehicle or anyone dressed in dark clothing. The safest choice for you is to drive on a bright, sunny day. Certain colored filters, such as yellow and orange, may assist in low-light conditions.
Depending on the lighting conditions you may need different sunglasses with different colored filters. One for bright sunny days, one for overcast glary days, and one for low light night driving. Certain colors are definitely better suited for certain conditions but also may depend on the combination of your eye health conditions such as AMD and cataracts etc.
Should you still be driving even though you have low vision glasses for driving?
It doesn’t imply your driver’s license is still valid just because it hasn’t expired. Any changes in a person’s physical, medical, or mental condition, including visual issues, must be reported to the relevant authorities in order to retain a valid driver’s license.
Your car insurance coverage may be void if you drive with a suspended license. You can decide when to quit driving, but if your loved ones are urging you to do so, please listen to their advice and consider the following questions.
If you have difficulty reading the dashboard gauges on your vehicle or reading traffic signs, this may be an indication of a problem. Other warning signs that your driving may not be safe include feeling confused while driving or seeing a vehicle or pedestrian appear out of nowhere.
Low Vision Driving Resources
The Driver Fitness Medical Guidelines, issued by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, are available for free download. There’s also a section on eyesight and visual acuity.
The Older Drivers Education website of the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers information on the Older Driver Program, advice for family and friends worried about an older driver, and vehicle adaptations for older drivers.
Occupational therapists and trained driving rehabilitation experts may be able to evaluate your abilities and provide training to help you improve your driving skills.