Driving with Visual Challenges & Bioptic Lenses

Driving with Visual Challenges & Bioptic Lenses


90% of all decisions made when driving are first processed by the visual system.  Therefore it is critical to maximize visual skills for safe operation of a motor vehicle. Our team has extensive training and experience in helping individuals with mild to moderate vision conditions gain independence behind the wheel.

Bioptic Lenses for Driving with Low Vision

A Bioptic Telescopic Lens System (BTLS) is a special pair of glasses that improves the sharpness of distance vision by mounting miniature telescopes into the glasses’ regular lenses.  When using bioptic lenses for driving, the client uses a combination of their general vision and intermittent vision though the bioptics’ telescopic lenses.  Prior to July 2013, the State of North Carolina did not permit the use of a bioptic lens for driving if a person’s visual acuity was less than 20/70 without the bioptic. The change in state law now allows individuals previously not independent in their community mobility the opportunity to drive and improve their quality of life.

Driver Rehabilitation Services is the only adaptive driving school in North Carolina qualified to perform bioptic driving assessments and training.  Our program works closely with low vision optometrists prescribing bioptics. Our Occupational Therapist has over 20 year of experience in adaptive driving and has spoken nationally to colleagues regarding visual deficits and driving, emphasizing intervention strategies for maximizing success.  She has completed and graduated from a five semester intensive low vision rehabilitation post-graduate certificate program through the University of Alabama.

Requirements for a Bioptic Driving Assessment with Driver Rehabilitation Services:

  • A valid learner’s permit (or unexpired driver’s license) is required for participation in the driver evaluation and training.
  • A Vision Examination Report from your doctor indicating current corrected visual acuity without the bioptic lens, acuity with the bioptic lens, and visual fields.
  • Complete follow thru of pre-driver training per recommendations of your low vision specialist.
  • Daily use of the bioptic lens system during everyday tasks.  This is important even if you anticipate use of the bioptics only for driving in the future.  Using the bioptics as a passenger in a motor vehicle is beneficial in achieving success.
  • A list of your current medications will also be helpful in completing paperwork.

Payment or Authorization Requirements

  • If you plan to have a third party pay for the driver assessment, authorization must be received in our office prior to scheduling the appointment.  Third party payers often include Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Rehab Services, Veterans Administration, Workman’s Compensation and Family Trusts and others. Please contact us with any questions regarding other options.
  • If you are paying privately for your assessment, a deposit will be required one week prior to the date of your assessment.  This deposit ensures your attendance to the appointment held for you.  If you are unable to keep the appointment we appreciate knowing as soon as possible so others can be scheduled.


Click on the various links below for further information:

Steps in Achieving Bioptic Driving Licensure:

NC Requirements for Driver Licensing with a Bioptic: