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I Have Best Disease. Will I Be Able to Drive?

driving with best diseaseThis question reflects the primary concern of almost every patient with Best vitelliform macular dystrophy. The genetic disorder affects central vision, which is vital to reading road signs, seeing traffic lights, and detecting emergencies while driving.

“The thing to know about this disease is that it does not progress to severe vision loss”, says our IALVS colleague and low vision optometrist, Dr. Robert Stamm. Almost all of his patients, he says, can be helped with bioptic telescope glasses. “They can be very efficient, safe, and effective for drivers and help keep their independence through most of their lives with this disease”.

There Are Good Chances for Driving With Best Disease

In most states, low vision optometrists can help you obtain your driver’s license. If you already have a license, but recently experienced a deterioration in your vision, we may be able to help you stay behind the wheel with the help of innovative low vision glasses, custom made to your prescription. Bioptic telescope lenses enable people to keep driving for most of their lives with Best disease.

If you have been told that you won’t be able to drive because your vision does not meet the legal requirements, you should consult a low vision optometrist near you, such as Dr. Shaun Golemba. Best disease is a rare condition, and not every eye doctor can help guide you on the laws and devices or custom optics that allow you to drive again.

Driving With the Help of Bioptic Telescope Lenses

Bioptic telescope glasses help people with low vision drive and perform many other vital tasks. These low vision glasses combine your regular prescription lenses on the bottom with telescopic prescription lenses on top. The regular lenses are called the “carrier lens”. The second set of lenses are much smaller and provide high magnification, making an object appear larger and closer, so it is easier to see.

Driving while wearing bioptic telescopes is easy; almost anyone can get used to them. Most of the time, you will be looking through the carrier lenses. As you approach a traffic sign you will be able to read it through the telescopic lenses. All you need is to slightly tilt your head down and focus on the sign to read.

Is Driving With Vision Loss Allowed?

Most states permit driving with the assistance of advanced optics, such as bioptic telescopes. However, the regulations vary according to each state and province. A low vision optometrist can assist you in understanding the rules that pertain to you and help you through the process.

You will generally need to reach a certain level of visual acuity with or without glasses to obtain a driver’s license. The minimum vision requirement varies. In some states, bioptic glasses are mandatory from a specific level.

Check out the local driving laws and regulations here: https://www.ialvs.com/dmv-driving-laws/, or simply contact your nearest low vision optometrist at Low Vision Center At Valley Vision Optometry.

What Does a Low Vision Optometrist Have to Do With Driving?

Low vision optometrists are familiar with the visual requirements for obtaining a driver’s license. They also know which low vision aids can be used for driving and have the chance of achieving the desired visual acuity for you. Dr. Shaun Golemba will examine your eyesight and can maximize your remaining vision.

We work with each patient individually to establish the tasks they wish to accomplish. The next step is to assess and determine which devices and optics can help them reach those goals. Many patients are able to continue driving after working with a low vision optometrist.

Are you concerned about driving or carrying out another activity you value?  Contact IALVS optometrist, Dr. Shaun Golemba, at Low Vision Center At Valley Vision Optometry today for a consultation. Schedule a low vision exam to get your personal assessment and let us help you optimize your remaining vision.

Low Vision Center At Valley Vision Optometry serves low vision patients from Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, Kootenay’s, and throughout British Columbia.

 

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We are currently offering in-office care by appointment only.

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COVID-19 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the steps we have taken to protect your safety.

Physical Distancing Measures:

o Reducing density of people: We have adopted a schedule which will reduce the amount of patients in our facility at one time.

o We will have some of our team working from home operating a call centre and tele-medicine pre-screening.

o Spacing stickers have been placed on our floor.

Engineering controls:

o Forms have been digitized and will be emailed to patients in advance of the appointment to minimize contact.

o A “For Payment" button has been installed on our website, valleyvisionoptometry.ca for patients to be able to pay from home to minimize contact.

o Plexiglass barriers have been installed at all 3 Front Desk stations

o Our doors will remain locked during Phase 2, opening the door to let in scheduled patients only.

o A dropbox has been installed for patients to drop off glasses in need of repair.

o Contact lens sales are administered through our webstore.

Administrative controls:

o Cleaning protocols have been written. Staff training on these protocols has been scheduled.

o Clear rules are posted on our front door and throughout all of the stations in our office.

Personal protective equipment:

o Patients will be required to wear a mask upon entry to the office and throughout their time with us. Those who do not have a mask will be supplied a surgical mask upon entry.

Policies around sickness:

o Employees and patients with cold or flu symptoms will be required to stay home.

Frequent hand washing:

o Patients, Doctors, and our Team will be required to wash hands upon entry and exit in to the exam rooms.

o Eyewear Consultants will wear gloves when handling eyewear and performing adjustments.

We currently are operating a reduced schedule, so are triaging patients to ensure those with the highest needs are prioritized.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shaun Golemba

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As of May 19th, we have re-opened by appointment only. Our current hours are Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm. Please call our office to schedule an appointment. Read about our safety protocols here.