BiOptics, also known as a biOptic in the singular, and sometimes more formally termed a biOptic telescope, is a term for a pair of vision-enhancement lenses with extreme magnification, used to improve distance vision for those with severely impaired eyesight, especially those with albinism. They may take the form head-mounted eyeglasses similar in appearance to goggles and binoculars, although several brands are designed to be attached to existing glasses rather than being a self-complete form of eyewear. In some jurisdictions, those with low vision may be permitted to drive automobiles when using BiOptics.
BiOptic [written with uppercase O to differentiate with other types of bioptic] driving is a method of driving that utilizes both the patient’s general vision in combination with intermittent spotting through a small telescopic system that improves the sharpness of the patient’s far vision. BiOptic patients drive with their own vision carrier about 95% of the time. When using the biOptic telescope, the patient quickly glances through it to provide details such as street signs, traffic lights and far distant objects. The brief use of the biOptic telescope is much like the quick look all drivers make into their rear view mirror. BiOptic driving requires careful fitting of the system followed by extensive training in both the use of the biOptic and behind-the-wheel driver’s training.
Determining whether a visually impaired individual may become a biOptic driver requires a multidisciplinary approach. This may include the low vision specialist, physicians, driving rehabilitators, occupational therapists and orientation and mobility instructors. The process includes a number of checks and balances to rule out those patients who would not be safe, while identifying those with the potential to be a safe biOptic driver.
- "Low Vision Aids". NOAH.org. East Hampstead, NH: National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. 2002. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "Albinism and Driving". NOAH.org. East Hampstead, NH: National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. 2002. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- BiOpticDrive.org : video clips
- BiOptic Driving
- BiOpticDrivingNetwork.org : on Facebook
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