Characteristics of on-road driving by persons with central vision loss: Learning to drive with a bioptic telescope

Academic Article


  • There is limited research on the driving performance and safety of bioptic drivers and even less regarding the driving skills that are most challenging for those learning to drive with bioptic telescopes. This research consisted of case studies of five trainee bioptic drivers whose driving skills were compared with those of a group of licensed bioptic drivers (n = 23) while they drove along city, suburban, and controlled-access highways in an instrumented dual-brake vehicle. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist was positioned in the front passenger seat to monitor safety and two backseat evaluators independently rated driving using a standardized scoring system. Other aspects of performance were assessed through vehicle instrumentation and video recordings. Results demonstrate that while sign recognition, lane keeping, steering steadiness, gap judgments, and speed choices were significantly worse in trainees, some driving behaviors and skills, including pedestrian detection and traffic light recognition were not significantly different from those of the licensed drivers. These data provide useful insights into the skill challenges encountered by a small sample of trainee bioptic drivers which, while not generalizable because of the small sample size, provide valuable insights beyond that of previous studies and can be used as a basis to guide training strategies.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wood JM; Elgin J; McGwin G; Owsley C
  • Start Page

  • 74
  • End Page

  • 82
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 2