Low Vision Glasses For Driving, Keeping You In The Driver’s Seat

Low Vision glasses

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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. Bioptic telescope 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 what you will use.

Patients with good side vision but significant central vision loss from macular degeneration may benefit from bioptic telescope glasses to improve distant visual acuity. 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 glasses are used for spotting, such as road signs and traffic lights, 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.

driving with low vision glasses

 Training for driving with bioptic telescopes?

Depending on the state you live in, to become a bioptic driver you may be required to spend some time with a Driving rehabilitation trainer. This will help you keep your driver’s license and get used to the bioptic glasses for driving. Each state has different vision 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. Ensuring that you are safe and comfortable while driving with your new low vision glasses.

How do you use bioptic telescopic 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 bioptic glasses. It does take some getting accustomed to the fact that your field of vision is reduced. 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 bioptic telescope 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

Sunglasses for low vision

Glare can be a huge issue for some people depending on their low vision underlying cause. The glare, for example, may make it difficult to see on a bright day. This is a common issue for people with AMD.

This is particularly true if the person has both macular degeneration 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. You’ll need the capacity to notice things when the contrast is reduced.  Which may be an issue while driving if your eyesight is poor. 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. This 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. When the contrast is absent, such as dark letters on a darker background, it is much more difficult to distinguish the letters or words.

Contrast is significantly decreased driving at night.  This makes 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  (age related macular degeneration) 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. If you’ve had changes in physical, medical, or mental conditions, including visual issues.  You should report it 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 or don’t meet the vision requirements. 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.

Do 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 and questions to ask yourself: “Do you feel confused while driving or see a vehicle or pedestrians appear out of nowhere”?

Are you ready to talk to our low vision specialists all over the country?

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.

You’ll need to find a low vision clinic that has a low vision doctor on staff.  They will prescribe the bioptic telescope glasses needed for the fitting.  See our doctor director for one near you.

About the Author:
Dr. Shaun Larsen

Dr. Shaun Larsen

Dr. Shaun Larsen is an optometrist who specializes in low vision services and enhancing vision with contact lenses. He has a passion for making people's lives better by helping them see well enough to read, write, or drive again. He always keeps up with the latest technology so he can help people regain their independence.


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