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Driving with Bioptic Telescopes: Organizing a Research Agenda

Owsley, Cynthia*

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182678dc8
Feature Perspective on Line

ABSTRACT: Being a licensed driver in the United States and many other countries facilitates health and well-being. Based on the vision standards in most states, individuals with worse than 20/40 visual acuity who desire licensure are denied through the usual licensure application process. However, >40 states have bioptic telescope licensing programs where applicants can gain licensure contingent on meeting specific requirements. Despite the existence of the bioptic telescope and these licensing programs since the 1970s, there has been little rigorous scientific study of this topic. Here, I offer an organizing perspective for a research agenda on driving with bioptic telescopes, with the long-term practical goal being to provide an evidence basis for licensure policies and training programs.


Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.

Received May 12, 2012; accepted June 10, 2012.

Cynthia Owsley Department of Ophthalmology University of Alabama at Birmingham 700 South 18th Street, Suite 609 Birmingham, AL 35294-0009 e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry