A few weeks ago the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired held a webinar titled Rules of the Road: Bioptic Driving. The purpose was to provide information about the possibility of driving for people with low vision. When vision loss occurs, losing the ability to drive can be a stressful and hard experience. For some with low vision, driving may still be an option with the assistance of Bioptic glasses and training. Mary Ellen Keith, COTA, CDRS discussed what makes a good bioptic driving candidate. During the hour long webinar she shared about the evaluation process, the optical devices and the importance of training that enable some to remain behind the wheel.
Even though I am totally blind and therefore not eligible for Bioptic glasses, I found the webinar very interesting and informative. Keith was very knowledgeable and shared good information on Bioptics in a clear and concise way. She first explains what they were then talked about who was eligible for them. Just because a person has low vision does not mean they are automatically a good candidate. She mentions people with eye conditions like stargards, albinism, macular degeneration and rod cones were good candidates. But people who have conditions like glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, were not because vision may not remain stable and peripheral vision might be too poor to drive
The other key thing she stressed the most was getting proper training. She gave tips and strategies on how to accomplish that successfully. She also shared that requirements for training and the overall process for Bioptics will vary from state to state. But the process can be between 6 months to a year from beginning to end so people must be self-motivated and persistent. If you are interested in Bioptics and want to learn more you can listen to this webinar on the Hadley website. Additionally, CVI’s Florence Maxwell Low Vision Clinic provides Bioptic evaluations to clients that qualify. For more information call 404-875-9011.