The Oklahoma Legislature hereby finds that there are persons in many other states who are using a bioptic telescopic device to successfully and safely operate a Class D motor vehicle. It is, therefore, the purpose and intent of this act to provide an opportunity to those citizens of this state who can successfully pass necessary tests and examinations with the use of a bioptic telescopic device to drive a Class D motor vehicle.
A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 6-119A of Title 47, unless there is created duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this act, the Commissioner of Public Safety, shall, in conjunction with the Driver License Medical Advisory Committee, promulgate rules that shall provide for a restricted driver license for bioptic driving in this state.
B. As used in this section, "bioptic driving" shall mean a method of driving that utilizes both the person's general vision in combination with intermittent spotting through a small telescopic system that improves the sharpness of the person's far vision.
What is Bioptic Driving?
State laws authorizing bioptic driving began over three decades ago in the United States. Today, thirty-seven states allow driving in some form. Unfortunately, the laws vary greatly from state to state. States like Indiana, have defined requirements for vision levels, training and ongoing monitoring of the vision status. Some states allow bioptic driving, but fail to define the requirements for behind-the-wheel training.
Bioptic systems combine prescription eyewear with a small telescopic system. The eyewear lens portion is deemed the carrier, which provides general vision while the telescope aids in quick spotting of detail for the visually impaired patient. The telescope can be fabricated for one or both eyes.
Bioptic drivers drive with carrier lenses 95 percent of time or more. The bioptic telescope is only used to do quick spotting such as to read a traffic sign or check a distant traffic light or check events far down the road. It is used much the way we all take a quick look in the rear view mirror.
All drivers with or without bioptics use their side vision for much of the driving process. The eye conditions we fit with bioptics generally involve loss of central or macular vision. Note that the macular region only accounts for 5 degrees of the total visual field.