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Single bioptic telescope for low vision driving may not obscure road view of second eye
Date:5/9/2011

Boston, MAA study by scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute shows that a bioptic telescope on one lens of a pair of glasses used to magnify traffic signs and lights may not prevent the wider view of the road with the second eye. The study results, which will be published in the May 2011 Archives of Ophthalmology, are the first evidence that--under more realistic viewing conditions than in earlier studies--the second eye can detect objects in the area obscured by the magnification effect of the telescope (called the ring scotoma).

"These study results are significant because they should ease official and public concerns about the safety of bioptic telescope use for driving with visual impairments," says Dr. Eli Peli, the principal investigator of the study, who is a low vision expert, a senior Schepens scientist, and a professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

In previous studies, participants wearing the bioptic telescope were asked to view a blank (plain) background and focus on a simple fixation pointa cross while detecting random visual targets presented to them, a task that requires little attention and concentration.

"Our current study required subjects to view more complex, textured backgrounds and focus on and read letters, which are more akin to visual situations encountered in real life and on the road," says Peli.

Bioptics, developed more than 100 years ago, are small telescopes that are attached above the center of one spectacle lens. A slight downward tilt of the head and upward shift of the eyes can bring a distant road sign or traffic light into view for people with vision impairments. When looking through the telescope, a blind area (scotoma) is created due to the magnification of the telescope. The blind area is in the shape of a ring surrounding what is seen through the telescope (hence the name "ring scotoma"). For instance, a person viewing a traffic light with the telescope
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Contact: Patti Jacobs
pjacobs12@comcast.net
617-864-2712
Schepens Eye Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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