Driving Performance Among Bioptic Telescope Users with Low Vision Two Years After Obtaining Their Driver's License: A Quasi-Experimental Study
ABSTRACT This study sought to compare road safety of new drivers with low vision who have followed a specific pilot bioptic training program with other groups of drivers all matched for age and driving experience. A quasi-experimental design was used two years after drivers obtained their license. Drivers were classified in the experimental group (n = 10, they followed a pilot bioptic training program and had license restrictions: weight of the car, requirement of a yearly medical exams, requirement to wear glasses/contacts, use of a bioptic telescope), the comparison group (n = 17, similar license restrictions except the use of a bioptic telescope) and the regional population (n = 1,690, no license restriction). The number of new drivers involved in at least one accident and who committed at least one offense is not greater for users of a bioptic telescope than for drivers of in the other groups. The results of this study indicate that driving with a bioptic telescope does not increase the risk of accidents and offenses, with more scientific evidence than in previous studies, among drivers aged between 25 and 35 who have a congenital visual impairment and who have completed an eight-week pilot bioptic training program.
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To compare the on-road driving performance of visually impaired drivers using bioptic telescopes with age-matched controls. METHODS: Participants included 23 persons (Mean age = 33 ± 12 yrs) with visual acuity of 20/63 to 20/200 who were legally licensed to drive through a State bioptic driving program, and 23 visually normal age-matched controls (Mean age = 33 ± 12 yrs). On-road driving was assessed in an instrumented dual-brake vehicle along 14.6 miles of city, suburban, and controlled-access highways. Two backseat evaluators independently rated driving performance using a standardized scoring system. Vehicle control was assessed through vehicle instrumentation and video recordings used to evaluate head movements, lane-keeping, pedestrian detection and frequency of bioptic telescope use. RESULTS: Ninety-six percent (22/23) of bioptic drivers and 100% (23/23) of controls were rated as safe to drive by the evaluators. There were no group differences for pedestrian detection, or ratings for scanning, speed, gap judgments, braking, indicator use, or obeying signs/signals. Bioptic drivers received worse ratings than controls for lane position and steering steadiness and had lower rates of correct sign and traffic signal recognition. Bioptic drivers made significantly more right head movements, drove more often over the right-hand lane marking, and exhibited more sudden braking than controls. CONCLUSIONS: Drivers with central vision loss who are licensed to drive through a bioptic driving program can display proficient on-road driving skills. This raises questions regarding the validity of denying such drivers a license without the opportunity to train with a bioptic telescope and undergo on-road evaluation.Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 05/2013; 54(5). DOI:10.1167/iovs.12-11485 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Purpose: To compare self-assessed driving habits and skills of licensed drivers with central visual loss who use bioptic telescopes to those of age-matched normally sighted drivers; and to examine the association between bioptic drivers' impressions of the quality of their driving and ratings by a "backseat" evaluator. Methods: Participants were licensed bioptic drivers (n=23) and age-matched normally sighted drivers (n=23). A questionnaire was administered addressing driving difficulty, space, quality, exposure, and, for bioptic drivers, whether the telescope was helpful in on-road situations. Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity were assessed. Information on ocular diagnosis, telescope characteristics and bioptic driving experience was collected from the medical record or in interview. On-road driving performance in regular traffic conditions was rated independently by two evaluators. Results: Like normally sighted drivers, bioptic drivers reported no or little difficulty in many driving situations (e.g., left-turns, rush-hour), but reported more difficulty under poor visibility conditions and in unfamiliar areas (p < 0.05). Driving exposure was reduced in bioptic drivers (driving 250 miles/week on average versus 410 miles/week for normally sighted drivers, p = 0.0224), but driving space was similar to normally sighted drivers (p = 0.29). All but one bioptic driver used the telescope in at least one driving task, and 56% used the telescope in ≥ 3 tasks. Bioptic drivers' judgments about the quality of their driving were very similar to backseat evaluators' ratings. Conclusion: Bioptic drivers show insight into the overall quality of their driving and areas where they experience driving difficulty. They report using the bioptic telescope while driving, contrary to previous claims that it is primarily used to pass the vision-screening test at licensure.Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 12/2013; 55(1). DOI:10.1167/iovs.13-13520 · 3.43 Impact Factor