Bioptic Driving Program

Bioptic Driving is operating a vehicle with the assistance of specialized telescopic eyewear, often called a bioptic. This device allows some drivers with low vision to meet the minimum acuity standards for licensing. During driving, bioptic devices are typically used briefly to see details such as road signs.

Most of the vision used while driving will be through the person’s regular eyewear, sometimes called the carrier lens. It is important to keep in mind that although bioptic telescope may improve visual acuity, a driver’s visual field will be reduced while looking through the bioptic device. The State of Alabama now allows bioptic driving under some circumstances, and important information about this is below.

Visual Criteria for Bioptic Driving in Alabama

The following are the basic criteria that help to establish whether a person is a candidate for bioptic eyewear while driving:

  • Visual condition must be stable.
  • 20/200 in each eye with the carrier lens (this is the regular lens in the eyeglasses).
  • 20/60 with a bioptic telescopic lens (magnification on the telescope can be no greater than 4X).
  • 110º of horizontal field of vision and 80º vertical field of vision.

Questions about bioptic driving in Alabama?

Please call Jennifer Elgin OTR/L, CDRS, UAB Driving Assessment Clinic at (205) 325-8646 or email driving@uab.edu.

The doctors of the UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation are experts on prescribing and fitting bioptic telescopes and determining eligibility for bioptic driving based on Alabama requirements. For more information on how to obtain a bioptic telescope and training in its use for mobility, please contact the UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation at (205) 488-0736. The Center is located in the Callahan Eye Hospital at 700 18th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama, 35294-0009.

Once a patient has a bioptic, those interested in becoming bioptic drivers must contact the Alabama Department of Public Safety in Montgomery to obtain a bioptic driving packet. Call Katie Pouncy at (334) 353-9067 and request a bioptic driving packet.