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M. A. Alabdulmunem, E. Kollbaum, A. Rone; Characteristics of Drivers Fitted With Telescopes for Driving. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3568.
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To study the characteristics of current drivers fitted with bioptic telescopes at optometry clinics, Indiana University. Various experts estimate the low vision population in the United States between 10 and 22 million (7% to 8.5%). The WHO defines low vision as: Visual acuity less than 6/18 and equal to or better than 3/60 in the better eye with best correction. Driving with telescopes is controversial worldwide but is legal in some states in the United States. The legality of using bioptic telescopes for driving in the State of Indiana was established in 1986. There are no studies concerning driving with bioptic telescopes in the State of Indiana.
Thirty-three charts of patients currently licensed to drive with a bioptic telescope were reviewed retrospectively. Charts were collected from the low vision clinics of Indiana University, in Indianapolis and Bloomington, for the period of September 1, 2004 - September 21, 2006.
Twenty-four drivers (72.73%) were males and nine females (27.27%). The drivers were divided into age groups by decade. The highest number of drivers was between 51-60 years of old (11; 33.33%). Two age groups had the lowest number of drivers, between 61-70 and 71-80 years of old, (two in each group- 6.06%). Ocular Albinism was the most common cause for vision loss among all drivers (7; 21.21%). Ocular Histoplasmosis and Stargardt's disease were the second most common cause for vision loss among the drivers (5; 15.15%). Drivers were divided into four groups according to the number of years driving with telescopes. The largest and smallest groups in size, (11; 33.33% and 5; 15.15%), have driving experience with telescopes of 11-15 and 16-20 years respectively. While the other two remaining groups, (9; 27.27% and 8; 24.24%), had been driving with telescopes between 6-10 and 1-5 years respectively. The most common telescope fitted was the Ocutech (15; 45.45%).
Thirty hours of training, is required before drivers license with a telescope is issued. We believe that the limited number of drivers using bioptic telescopes for driving is due to the high cost of the telescope as well as the cost of training and that may hinder low vision patients from obtaining bioptic telescopes for driving. We suggest that a broad study should be carried out to create a profile of bioptic telescopic driving in the state of Indiana.
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