Conference Proceeding

Driving Hazard Detection with a Bioptic Telescope

  • Amy Doherty (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA)
  • Eli Peli (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA)
  • Gang Luo (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA)


Driving by visually impaired people using bioptic telescopes is permitted in 43 states, yet their use remains controversial. One of the concerns is that the ring scotoma (blind area caused by the telescope magnification) may block the field-of-view, impacting detection of potential hazards when looking through the telescope. We evaluated the ability of the non-telescope eye to detect hazards in the field-of-view covered by the ring scotoma. Three participants watched a series of 54 real world driving videos that included 45 potential hazardous events and pressed a button as soon as a hazard was detected, in three conditions: just watching the videos, and while performing a reading task without or with a bioptic telescope. Results showed that all participants had either reduced detection rates or increased reaction times to hazards when performing the reading task with a bioptic telescope. These preliminary results suggest that attention demanding tasks and viewing through the telescope might impair hazard detection ability. Additional study is needed to fully understand the safety of bioptic driving.

How to Cite:

Doherty, A. & Peli, E. & Luo, G., (2013) “Driving Hazard Detection with a Bioptic Telescope”, Driving Assessment Conference 7(2013), 383-389. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2013 the author(s)

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Published on
19 Jun 2013
Peer Reviewed