Having low vision makes it difficult to perform daily tasks, including driving. However, with low vision aids and devices, many people who are visually impaired can still drive safely.
At Low Vision Of New York in Garden City, we help people with permanent vision loss maintain their independence by prescribing the low vision tools most suited to their specific needs.
Defining Low Vision
When an individual’s visual acuity (sharpness of vision) is 20/70 or lower and can't be improved with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery, they are said to have low vision. People with low vision may also have problems with their peripheral vision.
Low vision can be caused by medical conditions like glaucoma, retinal disease, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Accidents, brain injuries, and being born prematurely can also result in permanent vision loss.
A Guide to Driving with Low Vision
Low vision doesn’t have to hold you back from doing all the activities you once did. Here are aids and devices that may help you drive safely:
- Bioptic telescopes: These special aids are placed on top of eyeglasses, allowing the driver to see from afar and close distance.
- Magnifying steering wheel covers: These special wheel-shaped optical appliances include a magnifying lens, allowing the driver to read the dashboard and gauges.
- GPS-based turn-by-turn navigation system: Visually impaired drivers can safely reach their destination by listening to verbal instructions. They’ll also get updates on traffic conditions. These days, mobile phones come with a GPS app that can be used for this purpose.
- High-contrast license plates: These types of license plates are created to make the numbers and letters more visible for people with low vision. They feature bold black letters on a white background so that they’re easier to read from afar.
- Glare reduction filters: These filters attach to the windshield and reduce glare, making it easier to see the road and other vehicles.
- Adaptive cruise control: This technology automatically maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front of your car and can help you avoid collisions.
Find Low Vision Aids and Devices in Garden City
Even though low vision aids and devices can help many individuals drive safely, they shouldn’t be a substitute for regular eye exams and proper medical treatment. Your eye doctor and your state’s licensing bureau will determine whether it’s safe for you to drive, and under what conditions. For example, night blindness may make it impossible for you to drive at night.
If you have low vision and want to drive, your IALVS optometrist at Low Vision Of New York in Garden City will assess your usable vision and determine whether low vision aids and devices can enable you to continue driving. We’re here for all of your low vision needs.
Our practice serves patients from Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and New York City, New York and surrounding communities.
Alternate Saturdays: 8:30-2:30