Are there special glasses that will allow me to drive with Macular Degeneration?

Published on
January 5, 2022

One of the questions that I get asked frequently from my patients with Macular Degeneration and other low vision conditions is “Can I still Drive?”.  One of the things that I do with my low vision patients is to guide them through understanding the laws of driving with low vision in the State of Tennessee.

What should you do if you do not pass the vision test at the DMV?

If an individual isn't able to pass the Vision test at the DMV then they may go to their eye doctor, ideally a doctor that has experience with low vision. A low vision doctor will look to see if a patient has 20/40 or better in the better saying eye. So that means if the one eye doesn't see well lets say its 20/200 then the patient must be 20/40 in the other eye or better. If they're not 20/40 in the better eye then a patient must be 20/60 or better in both eyes. If an individual does not meet that criteria then we start discussing the eligibility for driving with Bioptics. 

Driving with Bioptic Glasses

The great news is that many patients who thought or even were told that they could not drive again are able to drive with bioptic telescopes. When it comes to driving with Bioptic telescopes, the patient will need to see at least 20/200 or better in each eye through what we call the carrier lens. The carrier lens is the patient's regular prescription. The carrier lens is the lower portion of the lens, and it is their regular prescription, while the upper part is the bioptic telescope. The patient will need to be able to see at least 20/60 through the bioptic telescope. If the patient fits those criteria, where they can see 20/60 or better through the bioptic with no more than a four x telescopic power, they are legally able to drive wearing bioptic telescopes.

Learn more about the driving laws for the visually impaired in Tennessee,

Learn more about the driving laws for the visually impaired in Georgia.

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