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Alex R. Bowers, Doris H. Apfelbaum, Eli Peli; Bioptic Telescopes Meet the Needs of Drivers with Moderate Visual Acuity Loss. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(1):66-74. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0271.
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purpose. Visually impaired people are permitted to use bioptic telescopes for driving in many states in the United States. However, it has been suggested that the telescope is used only to meet the visual acuity criteria for licensure. In this study, a survey was used to establish the extent to which bioptic telescopes are used by and meet the driving needs of people with moderately reduced visual acuity.
methods. A cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of 58 bioptic drivers was administered by telephone interview. Bioptic telescope usage patterns were quantified with questions designed specifically for the study. Driving patterns were quantified by use of the Driving Habits Questionnaire. Subjects were recruited from four sources across the United States to ensure a range of bioptic training and driving experience.
results. The majority (74%) rated the bioptic telescope as very helpful, and almost all (90%) would continue to use it for driving, even if it were not required for driving licensure; however, only 62% reported always wearing the bioptic when driving. Subjects had relatively unrestricted driving habits, driving a mean of 222 ± 211 miles per week, and 85% aged ≤65 years drove to work. With the exception of driving in rain, in bright sunlight, and at night, there was little difficulty with driving in a variety of situations, and levels of driving avoidance due to vision impairment were low (<10%).
conclusions. The bioptic telescope met the (self-reported) driving needs of the majority of visually impaired drivers in this survey and was found to be a useful aid for tasks requiring resolution of detail.
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